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Posted: August 27, 2016 at 7:22 pm
Alternate Title: Republic of Seychelles
National anthem of Seychelles
Seychelles, island republic in the western Indian Ocean, comprising about 115 islands. The islands are home to lush tropical vegetation, beautiful beaches, and a wide variety of marine life. Situated between latitudes 4 and 11 S and longitudes 46 and 56 E, the major islands of Seychelles are located about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) east of Kenya and about 700 miles (1,100 km) northeast of Madagascar. The capital, Victoria, is situated on the island of Mah.
Seychelles, one of the worlds smallest countries, is composed of two main island groups: the Mah group of more than 40 central, mountainous granitic islands and a second group of more than 70 outer, flat, coralline islands. The islands of the Mah group are rocky and typically have a narrow coastal strip and a central range of hills. The overall aspect of those islands, with their lush tropical vegetation, is that of high hanging gardens overlooking silver-white beaches and clear lagoons. The highest point in Seychelles, Morne Seychellois (2,969 feet [905 metres]), situated on Mah, is located within this mountainous island group. The coralline islands, rising only a few feet above sea level, are flat with elevated coral reefs at different stages of formation. These islands are largely waterless, and very few have a resident population.
The climate is tropical oceanic, with little temperature variation during the year. Daily temperatures rise to the mid-80s F (low 30s C) in the afternoon and fall to the low 70s F (low 20s C) at night. Precipitation levels vary greatly from island to island; on Mah, annual precipitation ranges from 90 inches (2,300 mm) at sea level to 140 inches (3,560 mm) on the mountain slopes. Humidity is persistently high but is ameliorated somewhat in locations windward of the prevailing southeast trade winds.
Of the roughly 200 plant species found in Seychelles, some 80 are unique to the islands, including screw pines (see pandanus), several varieties of jellyfish trees, latanier palms, the bois rouge, the bois de fer, Wrights gardenia, and the most famous, the coco de mer. The coco de merwhich is found on only two islandsproduces a fruit that is one of the largest and heaviest known and is valued by a number of Asian cultures for believed aphrodisiac, medicinal, mystic, and other properties. The Seychellois government closely monitors the quantity and status of the trees, and, although commerce is regulated to prevent overharvesting, poaching is a concern.
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Wildlife includes a remarkably diverse array of marine life, including more than 900 identified species of fish; green sea turtles and giant tortoises also inhabit the islands. Endemic species include birds such as Seychelles bulbuls and cave-dwelling Seychelles swiftlets; several species of local tree frogs, snails, and wormlike caecilians; Seychelles wolf snakes and house snakes; tiger chameleons; and others. Endemic mammals are few; both fruit bats (Pteropus seychellensis) and Seychelles sheath-tailed bats (Coleura seychellensis) are endemic to the islands. Indian mynahs, barn owls, and tenrecs (small shrewlike or hedgehoglike mammals introduced from Madagascar) are also found.
Considerable efforts have been made to preserve the islands marked biodiversity. Seychelles government has established several nature preserves and marine parks, including the Aldabra Islands and Valle de Mai National Park, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Aldabra Islands, a large atoll, are the site of a preserve inhabited by tens of thousands of giant tortoises, the worlds oldest living creatures, which government conservation efforts have helped rescue from the brink of extinction. Valle de Mai National Park is the only place where all six of the palm species endemic to Seychelles, including the coco de mer, may be found together. Cousin Island is home to a sanctuary for land birds, many endemic to the islands, including the Seychelles sunbird (a type of hummingbird) and the Seychelles brush warbler. The nearby Cousine Island is part private resort and part nature preserve, noted for its sea turtles, giant tortoises, and assorted land birds. Bird Island is the breeding ground for millions of terns, turtle doves, shearwaters, frigate birds, and other seabirds that flock there each year.
The original French colonists on the previously uninhabited islands, along with their black slaves, were joined in the 19th century by deportees from France. Asians from China, India, and Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) arrived later in smaller numbers. Widespread intermarriage has resulted in a population of mixed descent.
Creole, also called Seselwa, is the mother tongue of most Seychellois. Under the constitution, Creole, English, and French are recognized as national languages.
More than four-fifths of the population are Roman Catholics. There are also Anglicans, Christians of other denominations, Hindus, and Muslims.
More than four-fifths of the population live on Mah, many of them in the capital city, Victoria. The birth and death rates, as well as the annual population growth rate, are below the global average. Some one-fourth of the population are younger than age 15, and about one-half are under age 30. Life expectancy for both men and women is significantly higher than the global average.
Seychelles has a mixed, developing economy that is heavily dependent upon the service sector in general and the tourism industry in particular. Despite continued visible trade deficits, the economy has experienced steady growth. The gross domestic product (GDP) is growing more rapidly than the population. The gross national income (GNI) per capita is significantly higher than those found in most nearby continental African countries.
Agriculture accounts for only a fraction of the GDP and employs an equally modest proportion of the workforce. Arable land is limited and the soil is generally poorand the country remains dependent upon imported foodstuffsbut copra (from coconuts), cinnamon bark, vanilla, tea, limes, and essential oils are exported. Seychelles has a modern fishing industry that supplies both domestic and foreign markets; canned tuna is a particularly important product. The extraction of guano for export is also an established economic activity.
The countrys growing manufacturing sectorwhich has expanded to account for almost one-sixth of the total GDPis composed largely of food-processing plants; production of alcoholic beverages and of soft drinks is particularly significant. Animal feed, paint, and other goods are also produced.
Seychelles sizable trade deficit is offset by income from the tourism industry and from aid and investment. Although the countrys relative prosperity has not made it a preferred aid recipient, it does receive assistance from the World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and a variety of contributing countries, and aid obtained per capita is relatively high. The Central Bank of Seychelles, located in Victoria, issues the official currency, the Seychelles rupee.
Seychelles main imports are petroleum products, machinery, and foodstuffs. Canned tuna, copra, frozen fish, and cinnamon are the most important exports, together with the reexport of petroleum products. Significant trade partners include France, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Germany.
The service sector accounts for nearly four-fifths of the GDP and employs the largest proportion of the workforce, almost three-fourths of all labourers. After the opening of an international airport on Mah in 1971, the tourism industry grew rapidly, and at the beginning of the 21st century it provided almost one-fourth of the total GDP. Each year Seychelles draws thousands of tourists, many attracted by the islands magnificent venues for scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing, fishing, swimming, and sunbathing. The warm southeasterly trade winds offer ideal conditions for sailing, and the waters around Mah and the other islands are afloat with small boats.
The majority of Seychelles roadways are paved, most of which are on the islands of Mah and Praslin; there are no railroads. Ferry services operate between the islandsfor example, linking Victoria with destinations that include Praslin and La Digue. Air service is centred on Seychelles International Airport, located near Victoria on Mah, and the smaller airports and airstrips found on several islands. Seychelles has air connections with a number of foreign cities and direct flights to major centres that include London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, and Bangkok. Scheduled domestic flights, provided by Air Seychelles, chiefly offer service between Mah and Praslin, although chartered flights elsewhere are also available. The tsunami that reached Seychelles in 2004 damaged portions of the transportation infrastructure, including the road linking Victoria with the international airport.
Telecommunications infrastructure in Seychelles is quite developed. The country has a high rate of cellular telephone useamong the highest in sub-Saharan Africaand, at the beginning of the 21st century, the use of personal computers in Seychelles was several times the average for the region.
Under the 1993 constitution, Seychelles is a republic. The head of state and government is the president, who is directly elected by popular vote and may hold office for up to three consecutive five-year terms. Members of the National Assembly serve five-year terms. A majority of the available National Assembly seats are filled by direct election; a smaller portion are distributed on a proportional basis to those parties that win a minimum of one-tenth of the vote. The president appoints a Council of Ministers, which acts as an advisory body. The country is divided into more than 20 administrative divisions.
The Seychellois judiciary includes a Court of Appeal, a Supreme Court, and Magistrates Courts; the Constitutional Court is a branch of the Supreme Court.
Suffrage is universal; Seychellois are eligible to vote at age 17. Women participate actively in the government of the country and have held numerous posts, including positions in the cabinet and a proportion of seats in the National Assembly.
The Peoples Party (formerly the Seychelles Peoples Progressive Front) was the sole legal party from 1978 until 1991. It is still the countrys primary political party, but other parties are also active in Seychellois politics, including the New Democratic Party (formerly the Seychelles Democratic Party), the Seychelles National Party, and the Seychelles Movement for Democracy.
Seychelles defense forces are made up of an army, a coast guard (including naval and airborne wings), and a national guard. There is no conscription; military service is voluntary, and individuals are generally eligible at age 18 (although younger individuals may serve with parental consent).
In general, homes play a highly visible part in maintaining traditional Seychellois life. Many old colonial houses are well preserved, although corrugated iron roofs have generally replaced the indigenous palm thatch. Groups tend to gather on the verandahs of their houses, which are generally recognized as social centres.
The basis of the school system is a free, compulsory, 10-year public school education. Education standards have risen steadily, and nearly all children of primary-school age attend school. The countrys first university, the University of Seychelles, began accepting students in 2009. The literacy rate in Seychelles is significantly higher than the regional and global averages for both men and women.
Seychellois culture has been shaped by a combination of European, African, and Asian influences. The main European influence is French, recognizable in Seselwa, the Creole language that is the lingua franca of the islands, and in Seychellois food and religion; the French introduced Roman Catholicism, the religion of the majority of the islanders. African influence is revealed in local music and dance as well as in Seselwa. Asian elements are evident in the islands cuisine but are particularly dominant in business and trade.
Holidays observed in Seychelles include Liberation Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the 1977 coup, on June 5; National Day, June 18; Independence Day, June 29; the Feast of the Assumption, August 15; All Saints Day, November 1; the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8; and Christmas, December 25.
Because of the exorbitant expense of the large and lavish wedding receptions that are part of Seychellois tradition, many couples never marry; instead, they may choose to live en mnage, achieving a de facto union by cohabitating without marriage. There is little or no social stigma related to living en mnage, and the arrangement is recognized by the couples family and friends. The instance of couples living en mnage increases particularly among lower income groups.
Dance plays an important role in Seychellois society. Both the sga and the moutya, two of the most famous dances performed in Seychelles, mirror traditional African customs. The sensual dances blend religion and social relations, two elements central to African life. The complicated and compelling dance movements were traditionally carried out under moonlight to the beat of African drums. Dances were once regular events in village halls, but these have largely died out in recent years; now dances take place in modern nightclubs.
Seychellois enjoy participating in and watching several team sports. The national stadium, located in Victoria, offers a year-round program of events. Mens and womens volleyball are popular, and several Seychellois players and referees participate at the international level. Football (soccer) is also a favourite, and Seychellois teams frequently travel to East Africa and India to play in exhibition matches and tournaments. The Seychelles national Olympic committee was established in 1979 and was recognized that year by the International Olympic Committee. The country made its official Olympic debut at the 1980 Moscow Games, but its first Olympic athlete was Henri Dauban de Silhouette, who competed for Great Britain in the javelin throw at the 1924 Paris Games.
Much of the countrys radio, television, and print media is under government control. There are several independent publications, including Seychelles Weekly and Vizyon.
The islands were known by traders from the Persian Gulf centuries ago, but the first recorded landing on the uninhabited Seychelles was made in 1609 by an expedition of the British East India Company. The archipelago was explored by the Frenchman Lazare Picault in 1742 and 1744 and was formally annexed to France in 1756. The archipelago was named Schelles, later changed by the British to Seychelles. War between France and Britain led to the surrender of the archipelago to the British in 1810, and it was formally ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1814. The abolition of slavery in the 1830s deprived the islands European colonists of their labour force and compelled them to switch from raising cotton and grains to cultivating less-labour-intensive crops such as coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon. In 1903 Seychellesuntil that time administered as a dependency of Mauritiusbecame a separate British crown colony. A Legislative Council with elected members was introduced in 1948.
In 1963 the United States leased an area on the main island, Mah, and built an air force satellite tracking station there; this brought regular air travel to Seychelles for the first time, in the form of a weekly seaplane shuttle that operated from Mombasa, Kenya.
In 1970 Seychelles obtained a new constitution, universal adult suffrage, and a governing council with an elected majority. Self-government was granted in 1975 and independence in 1976, within the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1975 a coalition government was formed with James R. Mancham as president and France-Albert Ren as prime minister. In 1977, while Mancham was abroad, Ren became president in a coup dtat led by the Seychelles Peoples United Party (later restyled the Seychelles Peoples Progressive Front [SPPF], from 2009 the Peoples Party [Parti Lepep]).
In 1979 a new constitution transformed Seychelles into a one-party socialist state, with Rens SPPF designated the only legal party. This change was not popular with many Seychellois, and during the 1980s there were several coup attempts. Faced with mounting pressure from the countrys primary sources of foreign aid, Rens administration began moving toward more democratic rule in the early 1990s, with the return of multiparty politics and the promulgation of a new constitution. The country also gradually abandoned its socialist economy and began to follow market-based economic strategies by privatizing most parastatal companies, encouraging foreign investment, and focusing efforts on marketing Seychelles as an offshore business and financial hub. As Seychelles entered the 21st century, the SPPF continued to dominate the political scene. After the return of multiparty elections, Ren was reelected three times before eventually resigning in April 2004 to allow Vice Pres. James Michel to succeed him as president.
In late 2004 some of the islands were hit by a tsunami, which severely damaged the environment and the countrys economy. The economy was an important topic in the campaigning leading up to the presidential election of 2006, in which Michel emerged with a narrow victory to win his first elected term. He was reelected in 2011. One of Michels ongoing concerns was piracy in the Indian Ocean, which had surged since 2009 and threatened the countrys fishing and tourism industries. To that end, the Seychellois government worked with several other countries and international organizations to curb the illegal activity.
In October 2015 Michel called for an early presidential election, rather than wait until it was due in 2016. Michel was standing for his third term, again representing the Peoples Party. The election was held December 35, 2015. For the first time since the return of multiparty politics in 1993, the Peoples Partys candidate did not win outright in the first round of voting. Michel garnered 47.76 percent of the vote; his nearest challenger was Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party (SNP), who took 33.93 percent. Ramkalawan was an Anglican priest who was the leader of the SNP and had run for president in previous elections. The runoff election was held December 1618. On December 19 Michel was declared the winner by a very narrow margin, taking 50.15 percent of the vote, with only 193 votes between him and Ramkalawan. Michel was quickly sworn in the next day for his third term. Ramkalawan voiced allegations of voting irregularities and asked for a recount.
Posted: at 7:13 pm
Technology Technology Academic Programs
The Department of Technology is unique in the area of technical education. Our goal is to develop applied engineering and technical management skills in our students so that they excel in industry after graduation. This is accomplished with a mix of fundamental applied engineering knowledge, understanding of the applications and the tools needed in todays industry, and an understanding of basic and advanced theory.
As the name technology implies, our students learn the latest industry applications and equipment. Technology involves the application of science, mathematics, computers, and management skills to the solution of real world problems.
The first and foremost departmental mission is providing a quality hands-on and theoretical education to our students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The department prepares our students so they can not only obtain employment after graduation, but the can excel at the job from day one. The department offers undergraduate education in industrial management and technology, manufacturing engineering technology, and electrical engineering technology, and a graduate program in industrial management.
The departmental faculty is involved in continual programmatic assessment and improvement which allows us to educate the next generation of industrial technologists and engineering technologists who excel in the work environment. Within the departmental undergraduate programs, we offer a very broad range of courses which provide both a sound introduction and in-depth analysis in given topics. Each program places emphasis upon theoretical/application instruction and laboratory instruction, skills that are demanded by industry.
The departmental faculty has taken the lead in developing a new Homeland Security Certificate, which develops knowledge needed to obtain employment in this ever changing and expanding security area. Our departmental Masters of Industrial Management program includes course work in the fields of industrial management, occupational safety, and manufacturing.
Working with industry is another area that is at the forefront of the departmental mission. The NIU Department of Technology prides itself on industrial interaction. Many of the departmental senior projects are conducted with industrial involvement. In addition, students and faculty are involved with projects sponsored through industry and government. As is the case in the technology disciplines, our relationship with industry is the basis behind the concepts that are taught in our curriculums. In addition, technology students are involved with interdisciplinary external projects, from the design of the Basic-Utility-Vehicle to a hovering platform for a science museum. It is this involvement with the faculty and other students which sets our program apart!
To offer engaged learning programs that promote strong partnerships with industry and foster a synergetic interactive relationship between faculty and students. The Northern Illinois Department of Technology is committed to providing our students with an industry-focused technical education that emphasizes theoretical and applications-oriented approaches to problem solving. The departmental faculty will strive to provide technical programs which allow our students to excel in current and future industrial settings.
The Northern Illinois University Department of Technology is committed to technical education and programs which incorporate continuous improvement, student-centered engagement, and applied research that prepare our students to analyze, develop, and implement innovative and sustainable solutions for (contemporary) society.
Posted: at 7:09 pm
Principal, PBC Enterprises
Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century’s major “dead tree” computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor…
Tor is fighting back. The Onion Router (Tor) released version 6.5a1 of its browser in early June, and users will be happy to note that the updated browser contained some welcome security initiatives.
As the Tor Project announced on its blog, the latest version of its browser updates Firefox to 45.2.0esr and contains all the improvements that went into Tor Browser 6.0. Specifically, this new release boasts significant security advancements designed to avoid privacy invasions and deanonymization things Tor is supposed to fundamentally prevent.
The Project worked on the Firefox browser that runs underneath Tor to reduce its potential as an attack surface. This hardening was needed given recent and apparently successful deanonymization attacks, which revealed the identities of Tor users.
But theres more: Softpedia reported that this hardened version of the Tor browser includes a new feature called Selfrando. The article described this feature as an enhanced and practical load-time randomization technique. This should prevent user identities from ever going public as the result of a cyberattack.
The Tor Project and researchers from the University of California, Irvine have been collaborating to create Selfrando. It is an alternative to the use of address space layout randomization (ASLR), which Tor had used previously. ASLR works by taking code and shifting the memory location in which it runs. Selfrando increases the granularity of code execution by taking each code function separately and then randomizing the memory address.
This can have a major impact on Tor security. If an attacker cannot predict the memory position in which parts of the code will be executing, then use of some sort of memory corruption bug which could allow them to run malware inside the Tor browser wont do them any good.
It remains to be seen whether these hardening efforts will pay off in the future for Tor, but they look encouraging.
Topics: Firefox, Tor, Tor Project, Web Browser
Read more from the original source:
Tor Browser Counterpunches With a Security Upgrade
Posted: August 25, 2016 at 4:35 pm
William P. Ruger
William P. Ruger is Vice President of Policy and Research at the Charles Koch Institute and Charles Koch Foundation. Ruger is the author of the biography Milton Friedman and a coauthor of The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, and other outlets. Ruger earned an AB from the College of William and Mary and a PhD in politics from Brandeis University. He is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.
Jason Sorens is Lecturer in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. His primary research interests include fiscal federalism, public policy in federal systems, secessionism, and ethnic politics. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, and other academic journals, and his book Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy was published by McGill-Queens University Press in 2012. Sorens received his BA in economics and philosophy, with honors, from Washington and Lee University and his PhD in political science from Yale University.
Posted: at 4:32 pm
Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight) is space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.
The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961 as a part of the Vostok program, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard. Humans have been continually present in space for 700849902926700000015years and 297days on the International Space Station. All early human spaceflight was crewed, where at least some of the passengers acted to carry out tasks of piloting or operating the spacecraft. After 2015, several human-capable spacecraft are being explicitly designed with the ability to operate autonomously.
Since the retirement of the US Space Shuttle in 2011, only Russia and China have maintained human spaceflight capability with the Soyuz program and Shenzhou program. Currently, all expeditions to the International Space Station use Soyuz vehicles, which remain attached to the station to allow quick return if needed. The United States is developing commercial crew transportation to facilitate domestic access to ISS and low Earth orbit, as well as the Orion vehicle for beyond-low Earth orbit applications.
While spaceflight has typically been a government-directed activity, commercial spaceflight has gradually been taking on a greater role. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight, and a number of non-governmental companies have been working to develop a space tourism industry. NASA has also played a role to stimulate private spaceflight through programs such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and Commercial Crew Development (CCDev). With its 2011 budget proposals released in 2010, the Obama administration moved towards a model where commercial companies would supply NASA with transportation services of both people and cargo transport to low Earth orbit. The vehicles used for these services could then serve both NASA and potential commercial customers. Commercial resupply of ISS began two years after the retirement of the Shuttle, and commercial crew launches could begin by 2017.
Human spaceflight capability was first developed during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR), which developed the first intercontinental ballistic missile rockets to deliver nuclear weapons. These rockets were large enough to be adapted to carry the first artificial satellites into low Earth orbit. After the first satellites were launched in 1957 and 1958, the US worked on Project Mercury to launch men singly into orbit, while the USSR secretly pursued the Vostok program to accomplish the same thing. The USSR launched the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin into a single orbit in Vostok 1 on a Vostok 3KA rocket, on April 12, 1961. The US launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard on a suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7 on a Mercury-Redstone rocket, on May 5, 1961. Unlike Gagarin, Shepard manually controlled his spacecraft’s attitude, and landed inside it. The first American in orbit was John Glenn aboard Friendship 7, launched February 20, 1962 on a Mercury-Atlas rocket. The USSR launched five more cosmonauts in Vostok capsules, including the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963. The US launched a total of two astronauts in suborbital flight and four in orbit through 1963.
US President John F. Kennedy raised the stakes of the Space Race by setting the goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely by the end of the 1960s. The US started the three-man Apollo program in 1961 to accomplish this, launched by the Saturn family of launch vehicles, and the interim two-man Project Gemini in 1962, which flew 10 missions launched by Titan II rockets in 1965 and 1966. Gemini’s objective was to support Apollo by developing American orbital spaceflight experience and techniques to be used in the Moon mission.
Meanwhile, the USSR remained silent about their intentions to send humans to the Moon, and proceeded to stretch the limits of their single-pilot Vostok capsule into a two- or three-person Voskhod capsule to compete with Gemini. They were able to launch two orbital flights in 1964 and 1965 and achieved the first spacewalk, made by Alexei Leonov on Voskhod 2 on March 8, 1965. But Voskhod did not have Gemini’s capability to maneuver in orbit, and the program was terminated. The US Gemini flights did not accomplish the first spacewalk, but overcame the early Soviet lead by performing several spacewalks and solving the problem of astronaut fatigue caused by overcoming the lack of gravity, demonstrating up to two weeks endurance in a human spaceflight, and the first space rendezvous and dockings of spacecraft.
The US succeeded in developing the Saturn V rocket necessary to send the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon, and sent Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders into 10 orbits around the Moon in Apollo 8 in December 1968. In July 1969, Apollo 11 accomplished Kennedy’s goal by landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon July 21 and returning them safely on July 24 along with Command Module pilot Michael Collins. A total of six Apollo missions landed 12 men to walk on the Moon through 1972, half of which drove electric powered vehicles on the surface. The crew of Apollo 13, Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise, survived a catastrophic in-flight spacecraft failure and returned to Earth safely without landing on the Moon.
Meanwhile, the USSR secretly pursued human lunar lunar orbiting and landing programs. They successfully developed the three-person Soyuz spacecraft for use in the lunar programs, but failed to develop the N1 rocket necessary for a human landing, and discontinued the lunar programs in 1974. On losing the Moon race, they concentrated on the development of space stations, using the Soyuz as a ferry to take cosmonauts to and from the stations. They started with a series of Salyut sortie stations from 1971 to 1986.
After the Apollo program, the US launched the Skylab sortie space station in 1973, manning it for 171 days with three crews aboard Apollo spacecraft. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev negotiated an easing of relations known as dtente, an easing of Cold War tensions. As part of this, they negotiated the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, in which an Apollo spacecraft carrying a special docking adapter module rendezvoused and docked with Soyuz 19 in 1975. The American and Russian crews shook hands in space, but the purpose of the flight was purely diplomatic and symbolic.
Nixon appointed his Vice President Spiro Agnew to head a Space Task Group in 1969 to recommend follow-on human spaceflight programs after Apollo. The group proposed an ambitious Space Transportation System based on a reusable Space Shuttle which consisted of a winged, internally fueled orbiter stage burning liquid hydrogen, launched by a similar, but larger kerosene-fueled booster stage, each equipped with airbreathing jet engines for powered return to a runway at the Kennedy Space Center launch site. Other components of the system included a permanent modular space station, reusable space tug and nuclear interplanetary ferry, leading to a human expedition to Mars as early as 1986, or as late as 2000, depending on the level of funding allocated. However, Nixon knew the American political climate would not support Congressional funding for such an ambition, and killed proposals for all but the Shuttle, possibly to be followed by the space station. Plans for the Shuttle were scaled back to reduce development risk, cost, and time, replacing the piloted flyback booster with two reusable solid rocket boosters, and the smaller orbiter would use an expendable external propellant tank to feed its hydrogen-fueled main engines. The orbiter would have to make unpowered landings.
The two nations continued to compete rather than cooperate in space, as the US turned to developing the Space Shuttle and planning the space station, dubbed Freedom. The USSR launched three Almaz military sortie stations from 1973 to 1977, disguised as Salyuts. They followed Salyut with the development of Mir, the first modular, semi-permanent space station, the construction of which took place from 1986 to 1996. Mir orbited at an altitude of 354 kilometers (191 nautical miles), at a 51.6 inclination. It was occupied for 4,592 days, and made a controlled reentry in 2001.
The Space Shuttle started flying in 1981, but the US Congress failed to approve sufficient funds to make Freedom a reality. A fleet of four shuttles was built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. A fifth shuttle, Endeavour, was built to replace Challenger which was destroyed in an accident during launch which killed 7 astronauts on January 28, 1986. Twenty-two Shuttle flights carried a European Space Agency sortie space station called Spacelab in the payload bay from 1983 to 1998.
The USSR copied the reusable Space Shuttle orbiter, which it called Buran. It was designed to be launched into orbit by the expendable Energia rocket, and capable of robotic orbital flight and landing. Unlike the US Shuttle, Buran had no main rocket engines, but used its orbital maneuvering engines to insert itself into orbit; but it had airbreathing jet engines for powered landings. A single unmanned orbital test flight was successfully made in November 1988. A second test flight was planned by 1993, but the program was cancelled due to lack of funding and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Two more orbiters were never completed, and the first one was destroyed in a hangar roof collapse in May 2002.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and opened the door to true cooperation between the US and Russia. The Soviet Soyuz and Mir programs were taken over by the Russian Federal Space Agency, now known as the Roscosmos State Corporation. The Shuttle-Mir Program included American Space Shuttles visiting the Mir space station, Russian cosmonauts flying on the Shuttle, and an American astronaut flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for long-duration expeditions aboard Mir.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton secured Russia’s cooperation in converting the planned Space Station Freedom into the International Space Station (ISS). Construction of the station began in 1998. The station orbits at an altitude of 409 kilometers (221nmi) and an inclination of 51.65.
The Space Shuttle was retired in 2011 after 135 orbital flights, several of which helped assemble, supply, and crew the ISS. Columbia was destroyed in another accident during reentry, which killed 7 astronauts on February 1, 2003.
After Russia’s launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, Chairman Mao Zedong intended to place a Chinese satellite in orbit by 1959 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), However, China did not successfully launch its first satellite until April 24, 1970. Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai decided on July 14, 1967, that the PRC should not be left behind, and started China’s own human spaceflight program. The first attempt, the Shuguang spacecraft copied from the US Gemini, was cancelled on May 13, 1972.
China later designed the Shenzhou spacecraft resembling the Russian Soyuz, and became the third nation to achieve independent human spaceflight capability by launching Yang Liwei on a 21-hour flight aboard Shenzhou 5 on October 15, 2003. China launched the Tiangong-1 space station on September 29, 2011, and two sortie missions to it: Shenzhou 9 June 1629, 2012, with China’s first female astronaut Liu Yang; and Shenzhou 10, June 1326, 2013.
The European Space Agency began development in 1987 of the Hermes spaceplane, to be launched on the Ariane 5 expendable launch vehicle. The project was cancelled in 1992, when it became clear that neither cost nor performance goals could be achieved. No Hermes shuttles were ever built.
Japan began development in the 1980s of the HOPE-X experimental spaceplane, to be launched on its H-IIA expendable launch vehicle. A string of failures in 1998 led to funding reduction, and the project’s cancellation in 2003.
Under the Bush administration, the Constellation Program included plans for retiring the Shuttle program and replacing it with the capability for spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit. In the 2011 United States federal budget, the Obama administration cancelled Constellation for being over budget and behind schedule while not innovating and investing in critical new technologies. For beyond low earth orbit human spaceflight NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft to be launched by the Space Launch System. Under the Commercial Crew Development plan, NASA will rely on transportation services provided by the private sector to reach low earth orbit, such as Space X’s Falcon 9/Dragon V2, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser, or Boeing’s CST-100. The period between the retirement of the shuttle in 2011 and the initial operational capability of new systems in 2017, similar to the gap between the end of Apollo in 1975 and the first space shuttle flight in 1981, is referred to by a presidential Blue Ribbon Committee as the U.S. human spaceflight gap.
After the early 2000s, a variety of private spaceflight ventures were undertaken. Several of the companies formed by 2005, including Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and XCOR Aerospace have explicit plans to advance human spaceflight. As of 2015[update], all four of those companies have development programs underway to fly commercial passengers before 2018.
Commercial suborbital spacecraft aimed at the space tourism market include Virgin Galactic SpaceshipTwo, and XCOR’s Lynx spaceplane which are both under development and could reach space before 2017. More recently, Blue Origin has begun a multi-year test program of their New Shepardvehicle with plans to test in 20152016 while carrying no passengers, then adding “test passengers” in 2017, and initiate commercial flights in 2018.
SpaceX and Boeing are both developing passenger-capable orbital space capsules as of 2015, planning to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station as soon as 2018. SpaceX will be carrying passengers on Dragon 2 launched on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Boeing will be doing it with their CST-100 launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. Development funding for these orbital-capable technologies has been provided by a mix of government and private funds, with SpaceX providing a greater portion of total development funding for this human-carrying capability from private investment. There have been no public announcements of commercial offerings for orbital flights from either company, although both companies are planning some flights with their own private, not NASA, astronauts on board.
Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space on 25 July 1984.
Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. Eileen Collins was the first female shuttle pilot, and with shuttle mission STS-93 in 1999 she became the first woman to command a U.S. spacecraft.
The longest single human spaceflight is that of Valeri Polyakov, who left Earth on 8 January 1994, and did not return until 22 March 1995 (a total of 437 days 17 h 58 min 16 s). Sergei Krikalyov has spent the most time of anyone in space, 803 days, 9 hours, and 39 minutes altogether. The longest period of continuous human presence in space is 700849902926700000015years and 297days on the International Space Station, exceeding the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, spanning the launch of Soyuz TM-8 on 5 September 1989 to the landing of Soyuz TM-29 on 28 August 1999.
For many years, only the USSR (later Russia) and the United States had their own astronauts. Citizens of other nations flew in space, beginning with the flight of Vladimir Remek, a Czech, on a Soviet spacecraft on 2 March 1978, in the Interkosmos programme. As of 2010[update], citizens from 38 nations (including space tourists) have flown in space aboard Soviet, American, Russian, and Chinese spacecraft.
Human spaceflight programs have been conducted by the former Soviet Union and current Russian Federation, the United States, the People’s Republic of China and by private spaceflight company Scaled Composites.
Space vehicles are spacecraft used for transportation between the Earth’s surface and outer space, or between locations in outer space. The following space vehicles and spaceports are currently used for launching human spaceflights:
The following space stations are currently maintained in Earth orbit for human occupation:
Numerous private companies attempted human spaceflight programs in an effort to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight. SpaceShipOne captured the prize on 4 October 2004, when it accomplished two consecutive flights within one week. SpaceShipTwo, launching from the carrier aircraft White Knight Two, is planned to conduct regular suborbital space tourism.
Most of the time, the only humans in space are those aboard the ISS, whose crew of six spends up to six months at a time in low Earth orbit.
NASA and ESA use the term “human spaceflight” to refer to their programs of launching people into space. These endeavors have also been referred to as “manned space missions,” though because of gender specificity this is no longer official parlance according to NASA style guides.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has begun work on pre-project activities of a human space flight mission program. The objective is to carry a crew of two to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and return them safely to a predefined destination on Earth. The program is proposed to be implemented in defined phases. Currently, the pre-project activities are progressing with a focus on the development of critical technologies for subsystems such as the Crew Module (CM), Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), Crew Escape System, etc. The department has initiated pre-project activities to study technical and managerial issues related to crewed missions. The program envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying 2 or 3 crew members to about 300km low earth orbit and their safe return.
The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing a plan to land humans on Mars by the 2030s. The first step in this mission begins sometime during 2020, when NASA plans to send an unmanned craft into deep space to retrieve an asteroid. The asteroid will be pushed into the moons orbit, and studied by astronauts aboard Orion, NASAs first human spacecraft in a generation. Orions crew will return to Earth with samples of the asteroid and their collected data. In addition to broadening Americas space capabilities, this mission will test newly developed technology, such as solar electric propulsion, which uses solar arrays for energy and requires ten times less propellant than the conventional chemical counterpart used for powering space shuttles to orbit.
Several other countries and space agencies have announced and begun human spaceflight programs by their own technology, Japan (JAXA), Iran (ISA) and Malaysia (MNSA).
There are two main sources of hazard in space flight: those due to the environment of space which make it hostile to the human body, and the potential for mechanical malfunctions of the equipment required to accomplish space flight.
Planners of human spaceflight missions face a number of safety concerns.
The immediate needs for breathable air and drinkable water are addressed by the life support system of the spacecraft.
Medical consequences such as possible blindness and bone loss have been associated with human space flight.
On 31 December 2012, a NASA-supported study reported that spaceflight may harm the brain of astronauts and accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
In October 2015, the NASA Office of Inspector General issued a health hazards report related to space exploration, including a human mission to Mars.
Medical data from astronauts in low earth orbits for long periods, dating back to the 1970s, show several adverse effects of a microgravity environment: loss of bone density, decreased muscle strength and endurance, postural instability, and reductions in aerobic capacity. Over time these deconditioning effects can impair astronauts performance or increase their risk of injury.
In a weightless environment, astronauts put almost no weight on the back muscles or leg muscles used for standing up, which causes them to weaken and get smaller. Astronauts can lose up to twenty per cent of their muscle mass on spaceflights lasting five to eleven days. The consequent loss of strength could be a serious problem in case of a landing emergency. Upon return to Earth from long-duration flights, astronauts are considerably weakened, and are not allowed to drive a car for twenty-one days.
Astronauts experiencing weightlessness will often lose their orientation, get motion sickness, and lose their sense of direction as their bodies try to get used to a weightless environment. When they get back to Earth, or any other mass with gravity, they have to readjust to the gravity and may have problems standing up, focusing their gaze, walking and turning. Importantly, those body motor disturbances after changing from different gravities only get worse the longer the exposure to little gravity. These changes will affect operational activities including approach and landing, docking, remote manipulation, and emergencies that may happen while landing. This can be a major roadblock to mission success.
In addition, after long space flight missions, male astronauts may experience severe eyesight problems. Such eyesight problems may be a major concern for future deep space flight missions, including a crewed mission to the planet Mars.
Without proper shielding, the crews of missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) might be at risk from high-energy protons emitted by solar flares. Lawrence Townsend of the University of Tennessee and others have studied the most powerful solar flare ever recorded. That flare was seen by the British astronomer Richard Carrington in September 1859. Radiation doses astronauts would receive from a Carrington-type flare could cause acute radiation sickness and possibly even death.
Another type of radiation, galactic cosmic rays, presents further challenges to human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit.
There is also some scientific concern that extended spaceflight might slow down the bodys ability to protect itself against diseases. Some of the problems are a weakened immune system and the activation of dormant viruses in the body. Radiation can cause both short and long term consequences to the bone marrow stem cells which create the blood and immune systems. Because the interior of a spacecraft is so small, a weakened immune system and more active viruses in the body can lead to a fast spread of infection.
During long missions, astronauts are isolated and confined into small spaces. Depression, cabin fever and other psychological problems may impact the crew’s safety and mission success.
Astronauts may not be able to quickly return to Earth or receive medical supplies, equipment or personnel if a medical emergency occurs. The astronauts may have to rely for long periods on their limited existing resources and medical advice from the ground.
Space flight requires much higher velocities than ground or air transportation, which in turn requires the use of high energy density propellants for launch, and the dissipation of large amounts of energy, usually as heat, for safe reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Since rockets carry the potential for fire or explosive destruction, space capsules generally employ some sort of launch escape system, consisting either of a tower-mounted solid fuel rocket to quickly carry the capsule away from the launch vehicle (employed on Mercury, Apollo, and Soyuz), or else ejection seats (employed on Vostok and Gemini) to carry astronauts out of the capsule and away for individual parachute landing. The escape tower is discarded at some point before the launch is complete, at a point where an abort can be performed using the spacecraft’s engines.
Such a system is not always practical for multiple crew member vehicles (particularly spaceplanes), depending on location of egress hatch(es). When the single-hatch Vostok capsule was modified to become the 2 or 3-person Voskhod, the single-cosmonaut ejection seat could not be used, and no escape tower system was added. The two Voskhod flights in 1964 and 1965 avoided launch mishaps. The Space Shuttle carried ejection seats and escape hatches for its pilot and copilot in early flights, but these could not be used for passengers who sat below the flight deck on later flights, and so were discontinued.
The only in-flight launch abort of a crewed flight occurred on Soyuz 18a on April 5, 1975. The abort occurred after the launch escape system had been jettisoned, when the launch vehicle’s spent second stage failed to separate before the third stage ignited. The vehicle strayed off course, and the crew separated the spacecraft and fired its engines to pull it away from the errant rocket. Both cosmonauts landed safely.
In the only use of a launch escape system on a crewed flight, the planned Soyuz T-10a launch on September 26, 1983 was aborted by a launch vehicle fire 90 seconds before liftoff. Both cosmonauts aboard landed safely.
The only crew fatality during launch occurred on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff, due to failure of a solid rocket booster seal which caused separation of the booster and failure of the external fuel tank, resulting in explosion of the fuel. All seven crew members were killed.
The single pilot of Soyuz 1, Vladimir Komarov was killed when his capsule’s parachutes failed during an emergency landing on April 24, 1967, causing the capsule to crash.
The crew of seven aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were killed on reentry after completing a successful mission in space on February 1, 2003. A wing leading edge reinforced carbon-carbon heat shield had been damaged by a piece of frozen external tank foam insulation which broke off and struck the wing during launch. Hot reentry gasses entered and destroyed the wing structure, leading to breakup of the orbiter vehicle.
There are two basic choices for an artificial atmosphere: either an Earth-like mixture of oxygen in an inert gas such as nitrogen or helium, or pure oxygen, which can be used at lower than standard atmospheric pressure. A nitrogen-oxygen mixture is used in the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft, while low-pressure pure oxygen is commonly used in space suits for extravehicular activity.
Use of a gas mixture carries risk of decompression sickness (commonly known as “the bends”) when transitioning to or from the pure oxygen space suit environment. There have also been instances of injury and fatalities caused by suffocation in the presence of too much nitrogen and not enough oxygen.
A pure oxygen atmosphere carries risk of fire. The original design of the Apollo spacecraft used pure oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure prior to launch. An electrical fire started in the cabin of Apollo 1 during a ground test at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch Complex 34 on January 27, 1967, and spread rapidly. The high pressure (increased even higher by the fire) prevented removal of the plug door hatch cover in time to rescue the crew. All three, Gus Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger Chaffee, were killed. This led NASA to use a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere before launch, and low pressure pure oxygen only in space.
The March 1966 Gemini 8 mission was aborted in orbit when an attitude control system thruster stuck in the on position, sending the craft into a dangerous spin which threatened the lives of Neil Armstrong and David Scott. Armstrong had to shut the control system off and use the reentry control system to stop the spin. The craft made an emergency reentry and the astronauts landed safely. The most probable cause was determined to be an electrical short due to a static electricity discharge, which caused the thruster to remain powered even when switched off. The control system was modified to put each thruster on its own isolated circuit.
The third lunar landing expedition Apollo 13 in April 1970, was aborted and the lives of the crew, James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, were threatened by failure of a cryogenic liquid oxygen tank en route to the Moon. The tank burst when electrical power was applied to internal stirring fans in the tank, causing the immediate loss of all of its contents, and also damaging the second tank, causing the loss of its remaining oxygen in a span of 130 minutes. This in turn caused loss of electrical power provided by fuel cells to the command spacecraft. The crew managed to return to Earth safely by using the lunar landing craft as a “life boat”. The tank failure was determined to be caused by two mistakes. The tank’s drain fitting had been damaged when it was dropped during factory testing. This necessitated use of its internal heaters to boil out the oxygen after a pre-launch test, which in turn damaged the fan wiring’s electrical insulation, because the thermostats on the heaters did not meet the required voltage rating due to a vendor miscommunication.
As of December 2015[update], 22 crew members have died in accidents aboard spacecraft. Over 100 others have died in accidents during activity directly related to spaceflight or testing.
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Op-Ed What Trump Doesnt Know About Allies Author: Stephen Sestanovich July 30, 2016 New York Times
Donald Trump’s suggestion that NATO allies would lose U.S. protection unless they “pay” more for their defense is a reminder of how easily presidents can blunder their way into trouble, writes CFR’s Stephen Sestanovich.
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Inthe last year, some39,000 migrants, mostly from North Africa, tried to make their way to the United Kingdom from the French port of Calais by boarding trucks and trains crossing the English Channel.
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A close call. It is tempting to view the chaos in Libya today as yet one more demonstration of the futility of U.S.-led military interventions. That is precisely the case that Alan Kuperman makes in his article (Obamas Libya Debacle, March/April 2015), which asserts that NATOs 2011 intervention in Libya was an abject failure that set free Libyas vast conventional weapons stockpiles, gave rise to extremist groups, and even exacerbated the conflict in Syria.
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Janine Davidson presents an interactive model of NATO members’ military spending from 1949 to the present day. This visualization also tracks the total proportion of U.S. contribution over time.
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This document was issued on September 5, 2014, after a summit with NATO leaders which addressed the instability in Europe between Russia and the Ukraine and the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The declaration includes increased sanctions against Russia and a rapid-reaction force based in Eastern Europe to act against moves from the Russian military.
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John Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison distinguished service professor of political science at the University of Chicago and author of “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault” in the September/October 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs, on the unintended effects of NATO expansion.
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Listen to Ivo Daalder, former U.S. permanent representative to NATO and president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and professor of political science at Stanford University discuss NATO’s role in addressing global challenges, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, and ISIS.
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Adam Mount and Hans Kristensen argue that tactical nuclear bombs in Europe are no longer useful for defense, deterrance, or assurance. They have had little effect on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s transgressions in Eastern Europe and instead detract from more useful defense initiatives.
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Janine Davidson and Emerson Brooking argue that, on the eve of the 2014 NATO Wales Summit, the ongoing war in Afghanistan should not be relegated to a “side issue” in light of the crisis in Ukraine and growing threat of ISIS. The next few months will be critical in determining that Afghanistan does not follow the path of Iraq.
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When Western leaders gather for the NATO summit in Wales next week, they will be expected to answer calls to revive the old alliance in order to confront Russias gradual invasion of Ukraine. Despite this new clarity of purpose, however, the alliance remains profoundlydivided.
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With crises brewing in Ukraine and the Middle East, the transatlantic alliance must develop new capabilities to address the rising threat of unconventional warfare, says CFR’s Janine Davidson.
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U.S. President Barack Obama and Polish President Bronisaw Komorowski held a press conference on June 3, 2014, to discuss commitments to NATO and Ukraine.
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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke at the Woodrow Wilson International Center Forum on May 2, 2014. He discussed strengthening NATO, in the context of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and U.S. defense budget constraints.
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Russian aggression in Ukraine has breathed new life into the Cold War-era security alliance, prompting allies to reinforce defenses in Eastern Europe and expand cooperation with nonmembers.
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The Foreign Policy Initiative organized fifty-two former U.S. government officials and foreign policy experts to sign a bipartisan letter to President Obama regarding policy to respond to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
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NATO’s response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea may require it to bolster eastern European members with both military and non-military actions, says expert Christopher S. Chivvis.
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NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke at a Brookings Institution event, The Future of the Alliance: Revitalizing NATO for a Changing World. Secretary-General Rasmussen’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are titled “Why NATO Matters to America.”
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“Europe is under pressure, both internally and from its allies, to take more responsibility for defence and security, especially in its immediate neighbourhood. The post-Cold War history of European deployments in Europe and joint NATO missions provide abundant evidence of such demands. Currently, US defence spending represents 72 percent of the NATO total up from 63 percent in 2001.”
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Although there is no formal institutional connection between India and NATO, India and the NATO allies, most importantly the United States, informally share an interest in maintaining maritime security in the Indian Ocean and have spent significant resources to combat piracy in this vast area.
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U.S. missile defense in the twenty-first century is focused on emerging threats from North Korea and Iran, but critics say these systems are too costly and largely unproven.
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NATO – Council on Foreign Relations
Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:32 am
The University of Central Florida is a community brought together by the tenets of the UCF Creed: Integrity, Scholarship, Community, Creativity, and Excellence. These are the values that guide our conduct, performance, and decisions. To be successful at UCF, there is an expectation that you embrace and promote these core values in everything you do as a sign of your membership in the UCF community.
Whether you are a new or continuing undergraduate, graduate or professional student at UCF, there are certain responsibilities that you must uphold as a member of our community. The Golden Rule is a compilation of policies and procedures from different university areas intended to define your rights and responsibilities as a student and provide you with a better understanding of your role as a member of the UCF community.
The Golden Rule is published once a year but can be revised at any time to reflect new and modified information deemed critical by the university. Changes will be communicated through online resources and other means, at which time the revisions will supersede published information.
The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) within the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services (SDES) is delegated the responsibility for reviewing, assembling, and communicating information included in The Golden Rule. Students are given the opportunity to influence the rules that they are expected to adhere through the Golden Rule Review Committee.
UCF values diversity and inclusion of all in our community. Accordingly, discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, or veterans status is prohibited by federal and/or state law. It is our policy to treat all people with dignity and respect, without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, veteran status, or political opinions and affiliations.
For more information or further clarification, please contact OSRR at 407-823-4638, visit their website, http://osrr.sdes.ucf.edu for the most current version of The Golden Rule or email them at email@example.com.
Go Knights! Charge ON!
Maribeth Ehasz, Ph.D.
For past years’ Golden Rule Student Handbook, please see our archives page.
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Posted: at 9:30 am
A micronation sometimes referred to as a model country or new country project is a political entity that intends to replace, resemble, mock, or exist on equal footing with a recognised and/or sovereign state.
Some micronations are created with serious intent, while others exist as a hobby or stunt.
The term micronation, which literally means small nation, is a neologism. The first reference in English to the word micronation in a popular book appears in the 1978 edition of The People’s Almanac #2, where David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace write:
“Established in 1972 by a declaration of sovereignty by a group of Californians, the Republic of Minerva has more claim to authenticity than most micronations because it actually has some land, although it disappears at high tide. The republic consists of two coral reefs 17 miles apart in the South Pacific Ocean some 3,400 miles southwest of Honolulu and 915 miles northeast of Auckland, New Zealand.”
The term has since come to be used also retrospectively to refer to earlier unrecognised entities, some of which date to as far back as the 17th century. Micronations should not be confused with internationally recognised but geographically tiny nations such as Fiji, Monaco, and San Marino, for which the term microstate is more commonly used.
Micronations generally have a number of common features:
A criterion which distinguishes micronations from imaginary countries, eco-villages, campuses, tribes, clans, sects, and residential community associations, is that these latter entities do not usually seek to be recognised as sovereign.
The Montevideo Convention was one attempt to create a legal definition distinguishing between states and non-states. Some micronations meet this definition, while some do not. The academic study of micronations and microstates is termed ‘micropatrology’, and the hobby or activity of establishing and operating micronations is known as micronationalism.
The Principality of Sealand is one of the more recognised micronations in the world.
The 17th century saw the rise to prominence of a world order dominated by the existing concept of the nation-state, following the Treaty of Westphalia. However, the earliest recognisable micronations can be dated to the 18th Century. Most were founded by eccentric adventurers or business speculators, and several were remarkably successful. These include the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, ruled by the Clunies-Ross family, and Sarawak, ruled by the “White Rajas” of the Brooke family. Both were independent personal fiefdoms in all but name, and survived until well into the 20th Century.
Less successful were the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia (1860-1862) in southern Chile and Argentina, and the Kingdom of Sedang (1888-1890) in French Indochina. The oldest extant micronation to arise in modern times is the Kingdom of Redonda, founded in 1865 in the Caribbean. It failed to establish itself as a sovereign nation-state, but has nonetheless managed to survive into the present day as a unique literary foundation with its own king and aristocracy although it is not without its controversies; there are presently at least four competing claimants to the Redondan throne.
M. C. Harman, owner of the UK island of Lundy in the early decades of the 20th century, issued private coinage and postage stamps for local use. Although the island was ruled as a virtual fiefdom, its owner never claimed to be independent of the United Kingdom. Thus, Lundy can at best be described as a precursor to later territorial micronations.
The 1960s and 1970s saw a ‘micronational renaissance’, with the foundation of a number of territorial micronations, some of which still persist to this day. The first of these, the Principality of Sealand, was founded in 1967 on an abandoned World War II gun platform in the North Sea, and has endured a military coup, court rulings and rough weather throughout its existence. Others were based on schemes requiring the construction of artificial islands, but only two are known to have risen above sea level.
The Republic of Rose Island was a 400 square metre platform built in international waters off the Italian town of Rimini, in the Adriatic Sea in 1968. It is reported to have issued stamps, minted currency, and declared Esperanto to be its official language. Shortly after completion, however, it was destroyed by the Italian Navy.
The Republic of Minerva was set up in 1972 as a libertarian new country project by Nevada businessman Michael Oliver. Oliver’s group conducted dredging operations at the Minerva Reefs, a shoal located in the Pacific Ocean south of Fiji. They succeeded in creating a small artificial island, but their efforts at securing international recognition met with little success, and near-neighbour Tonga sent a military force to the area and annexed it.
On April 1, 1977, bibliophile Richard Booth, declared the UK town of Hay-on-Wye an “independent republic” with himself as its king. The town has subsequently developed a healthy tourism industry based literary interests, and “King Richard” (whose sceptre consists of a recycled toilet plunger) continues to dole out Hay-on-Wye peerages and honours to anyone prepared to pay for them. The official website for Hay-on-Wye, however, admits that the declaration of independence, along with the later claim to have annexed the USA and renaming it the “US of Hay” were all merely publicity stunts.
Micronationalism has since evolved mainly into hobbies, and with younger participants. Although no all-compassing authority on micronations exists, nor any comprehensive listing, it is known that a number of widely diverse communities and sectors persist throughout the micronational world, often on the internet.
The internet provided micronationalism with a new outlet, and the number of entities able to be termed as ‘micronations’ skyrocketed from around 2000 onwards as a result. Exact figures may never be known, but it is thought that many thousands of micronations now exist throughout the world. However, with this new outlet of the internet came a large anomaly between micronationalists and micronations. Before the advent of micronationalism on the internet, micronations were few and far between, and were able to coax many hundreds of people in their citizenry. At present, many micronations are ‘One-man micronations’ or ‘Egostans’, with only one or two people being citizens of the micronation. The majority are based in English-speaking countries, but a significant minority arose elsewhere in other countries as well.
Micronational activities were disproportionately common throughout Australia in the final three decades of the 20th century. The Principality of Hutt River started the ball rolling in 1970, when Prince Leonard (born Leonard George Casley) declared his farming property independent after a dispute over wheat quotas. 1976 witnessed the creation of the Province of Bumbunga on a rural property near Snowtown, South Australia, by an eccentric British monarchist named Alex Brackstone, and a dispute over flood damage to farm properties led to the creation of the Independent State of Rainbow Creek in northeastern Victoria by Tom Barnes in 1979. In New South Wales, a political protest by a group of Sydney teenagers led to the 1981 creation of the Empire of Atlantium, and a mortgage foreclosure dispute led George and Stephanie Muirhead of Rockhampton, Queensland to secede as the Principality of Marlborough in 1993. Although some newer micronations, like Ding Dong, were created purely for the experience of forming and running a micronation.
Yet another Australian secessionist state came into existence on May 1, 2003, when Peter Gillies declared the independence of his 66 hectare northern New South Wales farm as the Principality of United Oceania after an unresolved year-long dispute with Port Stephens Council over Gillies’ plans to construct a private residence on the property.
In the present day, the following categories are generally accepted as being standard:
Micronations of the first type tend to be fairly serious in outlook, involve sometimes significant numbers of relatively mature participants, and often engage in highly sophisticated, structured activities that emulate the operations of real-world nations. A few examples of these include:
These micronations also tend to be fairly serious, and involve significant numbers of people interested in recreating the past, especially the Roman or Mediaeval past, and living it in a vicarious way. Examples of these include:
With literally thousands in existence, micronations of this type are by far the most common. They are ephemeral, and tend to be Internet-based, rarely surviving more than a few months, although there are notable exceptions. They generally involve a handful of people, and are concerned primarily with arrogating to their founders the outward symbols of statehood. The use of grand-sounding titles, awards, honours, and heraldic symbols derived from European feudal traditions, and the conduct of ‘wars’ with other micronations, are common manifestations of their activities. Examples include:
Micronations of this type include stand-alone artistic projects, deliberate exercises in creative online and offline fiction, artistic creations, and even popular films. Examples include:
These types of micronations are typically associated with a political or social reform agenda. Some are maintained as media and public relations exercises. Examples of this type include:
A number of micronations have been established for fraudulent purposes, by seeking to link questionable or illegal financial actions with seemingly legitimate nations. Some examples of these are:
A small number of micronations are founded with genuine aspirations to be sovereign states. Many are based on historical anomalies or eccentric interpretations of law, and tend to be easily confused with established states. These types of micronations are usually located in small (usually disputed) territorial enclaves, generate limited economic activity founded on tourism, philatelic and numismatic sales, and are at best tolerated or at worst ignored by other nations. This category includes:
New-country projects are attempts to found completely new nation-states. They typically involve plans to construct artificial islands (few of which are ever realised), and a large percentage have embraced or purported to embrace libertarian or democratic principles. Examples include:
Seasteading is a lifestyle of making the oceans, or at least water-borne craft, one’s home. Most seasteads historically have been sailing craft, whether perhaps demonstrated by the the Chinese Junk, modified canoes of Oceania, or even the famous Pirates of Libertaria. In modern times in the west the cruising sailboat has begun to be used in the same manner. The term seasteading is of uncertain origin, used at least as early as the turn of the century by Uffa Fox, and others; many feel that catamaran designer and historian James Wharram and his designs represent ideal seasteads. More recently, American sailor and ecological philosopher Jerome FitzGerald has been a leading and effective proponent of seasteading, mostly teaching the concept through the environmental/sailing organisation “The Oar Club”. The Seasteader’s Institute in Hilo, Hawaii offers classes, boat-building opportunities, education in forage foods, diving, and other aspects of a Seasteading lifestyle.
Some theoretical seasteads are floating platforms which could be used to create sovereign micronations, or otherwise serve the ends of ocean colonisation. The concept is introduced in a paper by Wayne Gramlich, and later in a book by Gramlich, Patri Friedman and Andy House, which is available for free online. Their research aims at a more practical approach to developing micronations, based on currently available technology and a pragmatic approach to financial aspects.
The authors argue that seasteading has the potential to drastically lower the barrier to entry to the governing industry. This allows for more experimentation and innovation with varying social, political, and economic systems. Potential business opportunities include data havens, offshore aquaculture, and casinos, as well as the gamut of typical business endeavours.
There has been a small but growing amount of attention paid to the micronation phenomenon in recent years. Most interest in academic circles has been concerned with studying the apparently anomalous legal situations affecting such entities as Sealand and the Hutt River Province, in exploring how some micronations represent grassroots political ideas, and in the creation of role-playing entities for instructional purposes.
In 2000, Professor Fabrice O’Driscoll, of the University Aix-Marseille University, published a book about micronations: Ils ne sigent pas l’ONU (“They are not in the United Nations”), with more than 300 pages dedicated to the subject.
Several recent publications have dealt with the subject of particular historic micronations, including Republic of Indian Stream (University Press), by Dartmouth College geographer Daniel Doan, The Land that Never Was, about Gregor MacGregor, and the Principality of Poyais, by David Sinclair (ISBN 0-7553-1080-2).
In May 2000, an article in the New York Times entitled “Utopian Rulers, and Spoofs, Stake Out Territory Online” brought the phenomenon to a wider audience for the first time. Similar articles were published by newspapers such as the French Liberation, the Italian La Repubblica, the Greek “Ta Nea”, by O Estado de So Paulo in Brazil, and Portugal’s Viso at around the same time.
The Democratic Empire of Sunda, which claims to be the Government of the Kingdom of Sunda (an ancient kingdom, in present-day Indonesia) in exile in Switzerland, made media headlines when two so-called princesses, Lamia Roro Wiranatadikusumah Siliwangi Al Misri, 21, and Fathia Reza Wiranatadikusumah Siliwangi Al Misiri, 23, were detained by Malaysian authorities at the border with Brunei, on 13 July 2007, and are charged for entering the country without a valid pass.
In August 2003 a Summit of Micronations took place in Helsinki at Finlandia Hall, the site of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). The summit was attended by delegations such as the Principality of Sealand, Neue Slowenische Kunst|NSK, Ladonia, the Transnational Republic, and by scholars from various academic institutions.
From November 7 through December 17, 2004, the Reg Vardy Gallery at the University of Sunderland (UK) hosted an exhibition on the subject of micronational group identity and symbolism. The exhibition focused on numismatic, philatelic and vexillological artefacts, as well as other symbols and instruments created and used by a number of micronations from the 1950s through to the present day. A summit of micronations conducted as part of this exhibition was attended by representatives of Sealand, Elgaland-Vargaland, New Utopia, Atlantium, Frestonia and Fusa. The exhibition was reprised at the Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York City from 24 June29 July of the following year. Another exhibition about micronations opened at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo in early 2007.
The Sunderland summit was later featured in a 5-part BBC light entertainment television series called “How to Start Your Own Country” presented by Danny Wallace. The series told the story of Wallace’s experience of founding a micronation, Lovely, located in his London flat. It screened in the UK in August 2005. Similar programs have also aired on television networks in other parts of Europe.
On 9 September 2006, The Guardian newspaper reported that the travel guide company Lonely Planet had published the world’s first travel guide devoted to micronations, the Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations (ISBN 1741047307).
Hello, you may ask yourself “what is that micronation? Never heard of it”. Well it’s because I established it (for fun). Though I still … 2015-12-22T17:31:30Z
Hi. Welcome to MicroWiki. Only administrators are allowed to create threads in the announcement board. 2015-12-24T15:11:00Z
Ah, I understand the confusion. Yes, to users on this site, this is MicroWiki. However, from a .org user’s perspective, this site has the nickn… 2014-06-21T13:03:01Z
Well, I understand you, the only reason for my post on this forum is that WUS is almost not active and I love myself that moves a little and t… 2014-06-21T14:29:31Z
The rest is here:
Posted: August 21, 2016 at 11:18 am
by Donald S. McAlvaney, Editor, McAlvaney Intelligence Advisor (MIA), August 1996
GWI is a communicable, moderately contagious and potentially lethal disease, resulting from a laboratory modified germ warfare agent called Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus). [ED. NOTE: There were actually up to 15 such agents used in Desert Storm by Iraq only three have been identified at this writing: mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus), mycoplasma genitalia, and Brucella species.]. Myco- plasma fermentans (incognitus) is a biological which contains most of the (HIV) envelope gene, which was most likely inserted into it in germ warfare laboratories.
GWI spreads far more easily than AIDS, by sex, by casual contact, through perspiration, or by being close to someone who coughs. Your children can be infected at a playground or school. The Nicolsons, who have isolated the micro-organisms, say that it is airborne and moderately contagious.
Joyce Riley had an American Legion chapter leader call her in mid-95 who said, I was visiting the Desert Stormers at the VA Hospital and after two weeks I had the same illness they did just from visiting them at the VA. It sounds almost like tuberculosis-type contagion.
To illustrate the moderately contagious nature of the biologicals Saddam used, Dr. Garth Nicolson cited the case of a young woman who served in a transportation squad who contracted GWI while assigned to a graves registration unit during the hostilities. She is currently the sole survivor of the 16 members of her unit.
She has severe GWI, is partially paralyzed, has multiple chemical sensitiveness (which complicate treatment) and has the mycoplasmic infection. All of the other 15 members of her unit are dead from what we suspect were infectious diseases. These (graves registration) units had to deal with the registration and disposal of thousands of dead Iraqi soldiers who were, we strongly suspect, exposed to GWI.
GWI is the direct health consequence of prolonged exposure to low (non-lethal at the time of exposure) levels of chemical and biological agents released primarily by direct Iraqi attack via missiles, rockets, artillery, or aircraft munitions, and by fallout from allied bombings of Iraqi chemical warfare munitions facilities during the 38-day war.
The effects of these exposures were exacerbated by the harmful and synergistic side effects of unproven (untested) pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills (nerve agent pre-treatment pills) forcibly administered to our troops; botulinum toxoid vaccines (also untested and experimental) forcibly administered to our troops; anthrax vaccines and several other experimental vaccines, all forcibly administered to our troops like so many laboratory guinea pigs.
Estimates of the number of vets who are sick are just that estimates. Estimates of 50 to 90,000 sick vets are now obsolete. Over 160,000 Gulf War vets have reported to the Gulf War Registry (kept by the Department of Defense which still maintains that the disease does not exist). Dr. Garth Nicolson estimates the number of veterans sick with GWI to be closer to 100,000 to 200,000 with approximately 15,000 dead. This does not include wives, children or other family members, friends or associates (secondary infectees) who are sick, disabled, dying or dead.
By August 15, 1991, 17,000 out of 100,000 reservists and National Guardsmen who served in the Gulf conflict had reported to the VA that they were ill. Four years later (in August 96) that number is likely to have tripled to 51,000, or over half of the total. Joyce Riley estimates that 1/2 of all Desert Stormers may now be positive for Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus). Riley (and the Nicolsons) also estimate that a large percent of all GWI victims may ultimately die from the disease, or suicide.
On 7/31/96, Tony Flint, spokesperson for the British Gulf War Veterans Association, reported that the number of GW veterans deaths in U.K. is l.233 out of 51,000 Brits who participated. Of these deaths, 13% or 162 were from suicide. These are huge numbers of suicide victims who took their lives due to their lack of treatment and incredible pain levels.
Whole families are now ill. Nor do the above numbers include babies which are being born dead or severely deformed like the thalidomide babies of the 50s. Some of the baby deformities are Goldenhar syndrome, wherein babies are born with one or more limbs missing, a missing eye or other deformity. It is now estimated that a large percent of babies born to infected veterans are being born deformed or with birth problems.
The study done for former U.S. Senator Don Riegle (D-MI) concluded that 78% of wives of veterans who are sick are also likely to be sick, that 25% of their children born before the war are also likely to be sick, and that 65% of children born to sick Gulf War veterans after the war also are likely to be sick.
The Nicolsons, after listening to health complaints of many veterans of Desert Storm (including their step-daughter, then Staff Sergeant Sharron McMillan, who served with the Armys 101st Airborne Division-Air Assault, in the deep insertions into Iraq), concluded that the symptoms can be explained by aggressive, pathogenic mycoplasma and other microorganism infections.
Mycoplasmas are similar to bacteria. They are a group of small microorganisms, in between the size and complexity of cells and viruses, some of which can invade and burrow very deep into the cell and cause chromic infections. According to the Nicolsons, normal mycoplasma infections produce relatively benign diseases limited to particular tissue sites or organs, such as urinary tract or respiratory infections.
However, the types of mycoplasmas which the Nicolsons have detected in Desert Storm veterans are very pathogenic, colonize in a variety of organs and tissues, and are very difficult to treat. [ED. NOTE: The Nicolsons tested thousands of veterans blood samples (free-of-charge) while at the M.D. Anderson Center].
These mycoplasmas can be detected by a technique the Nicolsons developed called Gene Tracking, whereby the blood is separated into red and white blood cell fractions, and then further fractionated into nucleoproteins that bond to DNA, the genetic material in each cell. Finally, the purified nucleoproteins are probed to determine the presence of specific mycoplasma gene sequences. [ED. NOTE: Obviously this is no ordinary blood test and can only be understood or done by a small handful of pathologists or microbiologists in the world today].
As the Nicolsons wrote in a recent paper entitled Chronic Fatigue Illness and Desert Storm Were Biological Weapons Used Against Our Forces in the Gulf War?: In our preliminary study on a small number of Gulf War veterans and their families, we have found evidence of mycoplasmic infections in about one-half of the patients whose blood we have examined.
Not every Gulf War veteran had the same type of mycoplasma DNA sequences that came from mycoplasmas bound to or inside their white blood cells. Of particular importance, however, was our detection of highly unusual retroviral DNA sequences in the same samples by the same technique. These highly unusual DNA sequences included a portion of the HIV-1 (the AIDS-causing virus) genetic code, the HIV-1 envelope gene, but not the entire HIV-1 viral genomes.
The type of mycoplasma we identified was highly unusual and it almost certainly could not occur naturally. It has one gene from the HIV-1 virus but only one gene. This meant it was almost certainly an artificially modified microbe altered purposely by scientists to make them more pathogenic and more difficult to detect.
Thus these soldiers were not infected with the HIV-1 virus, because the virus cannot replicate with only one HIV-1 envelope gene that we detected. [ED. NOTE: But, infected soldiers do exhibit many of the symptoms of AIDS while testing HIV negative. Garth Nicolson says that Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus) contains about 40% of the HIV virus which causes AIDS. He told this writer on 8/9/96 that some soldiers do test HIV-1 positive, but do not have the HIV virus only the envelope gene product].
Interestingly, the specific DNA sequence that we detected encodes a protein that, when expressed on the surface of the mycoplasma, would enable any myco-plasma to bind to many cell types in the body, and even enter those cells.
Thus this genetic manipulation could render a relatively benign mycoplasma much more invasive and pathogenic and capable of attacking many organ and tissue systems of the body.
Such findings suggest that the mycoplasmas that we have found in Gulf War veterans are not naturally occurring organisms, or to be more specific, they were probably genetically modified or engineered to be more invasive and pathogenic, or quite simply, more potent biological weapons.
In our rather small sample of Gulf War veterans, it seems that the soldiers that were involved in the deep insertions into Iraq and those that were near Saudi SCUD impact zones may be the ones at highest risk for contracting the mycoplasmas that we feel are a major culprit in the Desert Storm-associated chronic fatigue illness. Our preliminary research indicates that the types of mycoplasmas found in some of the Desert Storm veterans with the most severe chronic symptoms may have been altered, probably by genetic manipulation, suggesting strongly that biological weapons were used in Desert Storm.
We consider it quite likely that many of the Desert Storm veterans suffering from the symptoms (described below) may have been infected with microorganisms. Quite possibly aggressive pathogenic mycoplasmas and probably other pathogens such as pathogenic bacteria as well, and this type of multiple infection can produce the chronic symptoms even long after exposure. [ED. NOTE: Three to seven years later, Joyce Riley calls it a time-release form of illness].
[ED. NOTE: Joyce Riley and the Nicolsons believe that the microbe just described is only one of 10 to 15 different microbes or different types of germ warfare that could have been utilized].
Micotoxins are toxins that are associated with fungus. Fungi and micotoxins have long been a very secret carrier of germ warfare agents. Micotoxins are very difficult to destroy with temperature, weather, or anything else.
Mycoplasmas have for many years been studied as potential germ warfare agents. Add a recombinant DNA to the mycoplasma such as the HIV envelope gene, and youve got a very virulent form of disease that is going to be passed easily throughout the population.
Mycoplama fermentans (incognitus) (and the other 10 to 15 microbes the Nicolsons believe could have been used by Saddam) are easily manufactured and have been made for the past 15 years in America, Russia, Iraq, China, Israel and even in Libyas new biological (germ) warfare facilities.
One of the more ominous aspects of GWI is that the microorganism is communicable between humans and dogs and cats (and presumably other animals). Veterans pets are coming down with the GWI symptoms and dying. Remember one of the Nicolsons cats contracted it and died. So, the disease is contagious between species. As Joyce Riley has said, The fact that the disease is being transmitted from people to animals is almost unprecedented. To find an organism that can be transmitted to animals is truly frightening.
In England, a viral researcher friend says that he has treated a number of people with the human form of Mad Cow Disease which he says has many common characteristics with GWI. Remember, most of the cattle herd of England had to be destroyed because of Mad Cow Disease. The British researcher says he is presently seeing (and treating) dozens of new, never-before-seen viruses in the U.K.
There is a large list of signs and symptoms which can begin from six months to six or seven years from the time of exposure, and once they begin, can get progressively worse until the victim is partially or totally disabled, or dies. [ED. NOTE: With severe exposure to heavy doses of biologicals, the symptoms can show up in a few days]. These symptoms include (not listed in order of severity or frequency): (1) Chronic fatigue; (2) Frequent (or constant) throwing up and diarrhea; (3) Severe weight loss (wasting away) very similar to an AIDS patient; (4) Severe joint pains; (5) Headaches that dont go away; (6) Memory loss, concentration loss the brain begins to go; (7) Inability to sleep [ED. NOTE: Severe sleep disorders are one of the worst and most frequent symptoms. Victims often sleep in the day, awake at night, or dont sleep for days or weeks]; (8) A rash on the stomach, groin, back, face, arms often looks like a giant ring worm. Whole families often get the rash; (9) Lymph nodes begin to swell; (10) Nervous system problems begin to appear (Parkinson-like symptoms, numbness and tingling around the body which can degenerate into paralysis and death); (11) Night sweats; (12) Bizarre tumors many brain stem tumors; [ED. NOTE: the active duty tumor rate in the U.S. military has increased 600% since 1990, according to data obtained from the Veterans Admini-stration. This data is available from Joyce Riley at the American Gulf War Veterans Association, 3506 Highway 6 South #117, Sugarland, TX 77478-4401 (1-713-587-5437)]; (13) Bizarre personality changes (victims become violent, have wide mood swings, severe depression, they hibernate in a dark room, begin to drink heavily, use drugs, become violently angry. Denial is a major facet of the disease; (14) Cant work often go bankrupt; (15) A large number of victims (perhaps 50%) end up committing suicide. GWI victims are walking time bombs!
Many of the symptoms are similar to AIDS because they are both immuno- suppressive and attack the immune system. Most victims will have half to two-thirds of these symptoms (some more severe than others). Wives married to GWI victims are likely to get the disease via sex and other close contact, and their symptoms can even include cervical cancer, ovarian cysts, ovarian tumors, endometriosis, painful intercourse, chlamydia, and herpes (sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] but with no extra-marital sexual activity). About 90% of the wives of veterans who are sick with GWI are now complaining of these symptoms.
When Joyce Riley had the disease she had some of the above symptoms in addition to the following symptomology: (1) She felt like a part of the body (like a foot, a leg, a calf, an arm) was missing; (2) She felt like a pan of hot water had been splashed on her one side of her body burned; (3) She felt like a foot was in ice; (4) She had bone pain, muscle pain (like a cramp or charley horse that doesnt let up for weeks); (5) She had central nervous system symptoms (knife-like pain from the upper back to tailbone).
Bleeding and hemorrhaging are symptoms associated with GWI. In Ebola Zaire, the body bleeds out in about 48 hours. Ebola Riston (a variation of Ebola Zaire) takes about two years to cause death with severe bleeding. A number of Gulf War vets who have called Joyce Riley have told her that they are bleeding from every orifice of their body. And their doctors dont have a clue as to what is happening they just know they dont have long to live. [ED. NOTE: She gets dozens of calls each day].
The Ebola Riston virus is a version of the Ebola Zaire virus (which may have been laboratory produced) but it takes about two years or more to kill a victim, beginning with the onset of the symptoms, versus 48 hours for Ebola Zaire. [ED. NOTE: Readers of this report are strongly encouraged to buy and read the book, The Hot Zone and rent the movie Outbreak both of which deal with the Ebola Zaire virus. However, in the real world, Ebola did not come from an African monkey, cave or rain forest but probably from a biological warfare laboratory].
Lekoencephalopathy is similar to Mad Cow disease the brain dissolves! It is now spreading among the populace of England. 25 to 30-year-old paratroopers are now dying of lekoencephalopathy. Other symptoms of GWI include: recurring fever, menstrual disorders, stomach upsets and cramps, heart pain, kidney pain, thyroid problems, and in extreme cases, autoimmune-like disorders such as those that lead to paralysis.
Many GWI victims are getting medical diagnoses of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) or Guillian Barre Syndrome, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrings Disease), their neurological problems eventually lead to paralysis and death. Thousands of Gulf War vets are now being diagnosed as having MS when they really have GWI.
The reason for the autoimmune symptoms maybe related to the cell penetrating mycoplasmas and bacteria of GWI. When these microorganisms proliferate and leave the cell, they can take a piece of the cells membrane with it, resulting in host immune responses against the microorganisms as well as the normal parts of membrane associated with the microorganism. This type of response is called a concomitant immune response.
In August 95, researchers at the University of Glasgow released a report entitled, Neurological Dysfunction in Gulf War Syndrome, which was published in the March 96 issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry which said, The results between the two groups [Desert Storm vets and non-military control group] showed significant differences between the two groups in terms of nervous system function. The Gulf War veterans performed less well. They all displayed the classic symptoms of nerve damage.
Graves Disease (a disease of the thyroid) is another problem or symptom associated ith mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus) infection. If it settles in the wheart, then you can get a severe enlargement and necrosis (or degeneration) of the heart, and in some autopsies of GWI victims, the coroner says, their heart exploded.
The most severely affected (sickest) units in our military are the 101st Airborne, the 82nd Airborne, and the Big Red One out of Ft. Riley, Kansas, and the 3rd and 5th Special Forces.
[ED. NOTE: 99.9% of the medical doctors in America cant recognize GWI, dont believe it even exists because of the government and medical establishment saying it doesnt exist, would have no idea how to test for it and even less idea how to treat it. Most alternate medical practitioners are in the same boat although many of them would try detoxification and immune system therapy which would be helpful. These are answers (if the disease is not too far advanced) both in the tradition (mainline) medical area and in the alternate medicine field which will be discussed in Section VI below. If you or a family member reading this report are discouraged at this point, turn to Section VI on Methods of Treatment before continuing].
Life (11/95) featured a special report entitled: The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm, which described in heart-rending detail (with numerous photos) how the children of our veterans are being born with horrendous disfiguring birth defects. The article was subtitled, When our soldiers risked their lives in the Gulf, they never imagined that their children might suffer the consequences or that their country would turn its back on them.
In the months and years following Desert Storm, thousands of babies have been born to vets with horrible deformities (missing limbs, one eye, missing ears, incomplete or missing organs reminiscent of the Thalidomide babies of the 1950s but in far greater numbers. [ED. NOTE: Thalidomide was another experimental drug (administered to pregnant mothers) which went awry].
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense is working overtime to cover up the crisis with Gulf War babies, denying it exists, denying benefits or medical assistance to veterans with birth defected children, and even going so far as to censor the Life article cited above off of the Internet.
Dr. William Campbell Douglass is the editor of the Second Opinion newsletter and author of the book, Who Killed Africa (about how the World Health Organization smallpox inoculations may have triggered the AIDS epidemic in Africa). Dr. Douglass, a close friend of this writer, wrote in his January 1994 newsletter regarding Gulf War Illness: The symptoms are now having serious repercussions. Half or more of the babies born to Gulf War vets since the war have had some sort of birth defect or blood disorder.
Nation Magazine (1/95) estimates that 67% of babies being born to Gulf War vets who are ill are having serious birth problems. Over half of the babies now being born in Iraq today have deformities or major birth defects, according to reports Dr. Garth and Nancy Nicolson have received.
According to the Life Magazine article: In 1975, a landmark Swedish study concluded that low-level exposure to nerve and mustard gases could cause both chronic illness and birth defects. The Pentagon denies the presence of such chemicals during the Gulf War. [ED. NOTE: Even though over 18,000 chemical alarms sounded during the Gulf War] but the Czech and British governments say their troops detected both kinds of gas during the war. A 1994 report by the General Accounting Office says that: American soldiers were exposed to 21 potential reproductive toxicants, any of which might have harmed them or their future children.
A number of examples of babies born to Gulf War vets with devastating birth defects were cited in the Life Magazine article:
1) Kennedi Clark (Age 4) Born to Darrell (an Army paratrooper in the Gulf War) and Shona Clark. Kennedis face is grotesquely swollen sprinkled with red, knotted lumps. She was born without a thyroid. If not for daily hormone treatments, she would die. What disfigures her features, however, is another congenital condition: hemangiomas, benign tumors made of tangled red blood vessels. Since she was a few weeks old, they have been popping up all over on her eyelids, lips, etc.
(2) Lea Arnold (Age 4) Born to Richard and Lisa Arnold. Richard was a civilian helicopter mechanic (working for Lockheed) with the Armys 1st Cavalry Division during the Gulf War. Lea was born with spina bifida, a split in the backbone that causes paralysis and hydrocephalus (i.e. water on the brain). She needed surgery to remove three vertebrae. Today, she cannot move her legs or roll over. A shunt drains the fluid from her skull. Her upper body is so weak that she cannot push herself in a wheelchair on carpeting. To strengthen her bones, she spends hours in a contraption that holds her upright. Just about our whole world is centered around Lea, says Lisa Arnold. Huge medical bills and the unwillingness of insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions force the family to live in poverty in order to qualify for Medicaid.
(3) Casey Minns (Age 3) Born to Army Sgt. Brad and Marilyn Minns. Casey was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, characterized by a lopsided head and spine. His left ear is missing, his digestive tract (i.e. esophagus) was disconnected. Trying to repair his damaged organs, surgeons at Walter Reed Army Medical Center damaged his vocal chords and colon, says Brad and Marilyn. His parents feed and remove his wastes through holes in his belly. His mother Marilyn, says, Sometimes it just overwhelms me, but I try to take it one day at a time.. its made worse by people who say that Gulf War Syndrome doesnt existtheyre turning their backs on us.
(4) Michael Ayers (Died at 5 Months of Age) Born to Glenn (a battery commander in the Gulf War) and Melanie Ayers. Michael was born with a mitral-valve defect in his heart. He sweat constantly until the night h woke up screaming, his arms and legs ice-cold. he died that night of congestive heart failure. As Life Magazine wrote: After Michaels death, Melanie sealed off his bedroom; she tried to close herself off as well. But soon she began to encounter a shocking number of other parents whose post-Gulf War children had been born with abnormalities. All of them were desperate to know what had gone wrong and whether they would ever again be able to bear healthy babies. With Kim Sullivan, an artillery captains wife whose infant son, Matthew, had died of a rare liver cancer, Melanie founded an informal network of fellow sufferers. Kim is here. So is Connie Hanson, wife of an Army sergeant her son, Jayce, was born with multiple deformities. Army Sgt. John Mabus has brought along his babies Zachary and Andrew who suffer from an incomplete fusion of the skull. The people in this room have turned to one another because they can no longer rely upon the military.
(5) Cedrick Miller (Age 4) Born to Steve (a former Army medic in the Gulf War) and Bianca Miller. Cedrick was born with his trachea and esophagus fused; despite surgery, his inability to hold down solid food has kept his weight to 20 pounds. His internal problems include hydrocephalus and a heart in the wrong place. Cedrick suffers, like Casey Minns, from Goldenhars Syndrome. The left half of his face is shrunken, with a missing ear and blind eye.
(6) Jayce Hanson (Age 4) Born to Paul (a Gulf War vet) and Connie Hanson. Jayce was born with hands and feet attached to twisted stumps. He also had a hole in his heart, a hemophilia-like blood condition, and underdeveloped ear canals ..a cherubic, rambunctious blond, hes the unofficial poster boy of the Gulf War babies seen by millions in People Magazine. But since his last major public appearance, he has undergone a change. His lower legs are missing. Doctors recently amputated his legs at the knees to make it easier to fit him with prosthetics. Hell say once in a while, My feet are gone, says his mother Connie, but he has been a real trooper.
(7) Alexander Albuck (Age 3) Born to Lieutenant and Kelli Albuck after two miscarriages. Alexander was born with underdeveloped lungs, Strep B infection, spinal meningitis, cranial hemorrhage, collapsed heart valve, calcium deposits in the kidneys, bleeding ulcers, cerebral palsy, vision and hearing impairments, bronchia pulmonary dysphasia, etc. Having exhausted the lifetime limit on their health insurance in the first three months, the Albucks because responsible for paying for his treatment. The first bill they received was for $154,319!
There are thousands of young children like Kennedi, Lea, Casey, Michael, Cedrick, Jayce, and Alexander (the tiny victims of Desert Storm) who have been born to Gulf War vets with horrible birth defects or who have died from these deformities. The government (especially the Defense Department) denies that the problem exists and no government medical or financial assistance is forthcoming unless a parent is still in the military (and over 2/3 of the Gulf War vets have been separated from duty since Operation Desert Storm).
As Life wrote: For parents of these children, the going is grim. They are denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. They are being driven into poverty. Some join the welfare line so Medicaid will help with the impossible burden. You could be a millionaire, and there is no way you could take care of one of these children, says Lisa Arnold.
Because the U.S. government and military will not help, a Gulf War Baby Registry has been formed (in Orlando, Florida) by Dr. Betty Bekdeci to track as best as possible the birth defected children. Call 1-800-313-2232 for more information.
Read more here:
Posted: at 11:12 am
Over the past decade, governmental agencies, medical schools, influential voices in the media, and the public at large have seen a remarkable surge of interest in alternative medicine in the United States. While many therapies focus on unproven but otherwise spiritually neutral approaches (for example, nutritional supplements), others arise from or validate worldviews especially the monism (All is One) of the New Age movement that are hostile to the teachings of Scripture. The cultural developments that have brought alternative (still often called holistic) therapies into the cultural mainstream are complex and often understandable. However, a number of general cautions are still in order regarding this movement.
Twenty years ago a nurse tending to pediatric patients at Santa Monica Hospital handed me a rather unassuming publication bearing the title, Journal of Holistic Health. Along with more than 2,000 health-care professionals and other interested parties, she had just attended a conference in San Diego entitled, The Physician of the Future. In more ways than one, she had got religion at this meeting, and spoke with great enthusiasm about the new paradigm that would soon revolutionize our understanding of health and disease.
The future of health care, she explained, lay in the concept of holism, understanding the whole person body, mind, and spirit who was in fact a great deal more than the sum of several organ systems. It would become much more important to understand the patient who had the illness, not merely the illness that had the patient. Prevention, lifestyle, stress reduction, and self-awareness would displace the invasive and often destructive approaches specifically, drugs and surgery that had for so long dominated Western medicine. Eventually, we would begin to define health in more uplifting terms: not merely as the absence of disease, but as a state of increasing energy, productivity, insight, and personal transformation.
RISE OF HOLISTIC HEALTH
It sounded intriguing. After all, I was training as a resident in family practice the specialty whose interest extended not only to the whole patient, but also to her or his family, work, relationships, and even the community where she or he lived. I glanced through the articles in this home-grown journal (which actually was a transcription of the previous years conference), and then began to read more carefully, with increasing concern. This movement appeared to have more on its mind than changing dietary habits, encouraging exercise, and coping with stress.
The conference director, David J. Harris, who bore the title Founder and President of the Association for Holistic Health, had rhapsodized in his opening remarks that this gathering is part of a process that is bringing about a new way of thinking, a new science merged with religion. James Fadiman, Ph.D., at that time Director of the Institute of Noetic Sciences at Stanford University, declared that we are not primarily physical forms. We are primarily energy around which matter adheres. Richard Svihus, M.D., President of the California Academy of Preventive Medicine, proclaimed that the holistic health movement is desired by higher forces and consciousness within the universe. Harold Bloomfield, M.D., a psychiatrist who had written the best-selling TM: Discovering Inner Energy and Overcoming Stress, extolled the benefits of Transcendental Meditation. Dr. Elisabeth Kbler-Ross, widely recognized as the worlds authority on the dying process, stated unequivocally that death does not exist, and that after transitioning from this life, you will have the opportunity not to be judged by a judgmental God, but to judge yourself. Many others with strings of initials after their names and impressive titles used engaging anecdotes that described healing through aligning the bodys invisible energies, developing psychic abilities, and most important altering, expanding, and transforming consciousness.
The pediatric nurse really had gotten religion but not a gospel that would set well with Luke, the doctor who followed Jesus. It was, instead, a gospel better suited to Luke Skywalker, master of the Force, the impersonal energy allegedly pervading the universe. The holistic health movement, it turned out, appeared to be yet another banner under the We are all energy / All is One / I am God / You are God / We are all God / Aint that great? spirituality of the New Age movement. Such spirituality was storming the gates of Western culture and hoping to be welcomed with open arms.
In my subsequent explorations of the holistic phenomenon I attended two of the annual Association for Holistic Health conferences in San Diego. For the most part, the speakers were interesting, energetic, and sincere in their desire to promote health and healing, while the audiences were far more attentive than many I had observed at other medical conferences. These total immersion experiences left no doubt in my mind that the spiritual agenda of the new medicine at least as presented by its most active proponents was of utmost importance. Furthermore, a few direct questions to some of the speakers made it abundantly clear that this spirituality, which presented itself as generously inclusive of all religious traditions, did not in fact harbor warm and fuzzy feelings about such concepts as the sinfulness of humankind, Christs atoning death on the cross, or our need for individual repentance.
Ask a speaker about Jesus, and you would hear He was a Master Teacher, Enlightened Healer, Bearer of the Christ Consciousness, and so forth. Mention atonement, and you would be gently corrected, for Jesus demonstrated at-one-ment an understanding of His (and our) unity with God. Bring up repentance, and you would be told that what we really need is enlightenment a direct experience of our own divinity. Bear down on that distasteful event at Golgotha, and the air would suddenly become rather chilly.
Over the next several years, I both wrote and spoke of my concerns about the holistic health movement in a variety of settings, and while doing so, made a few observations:
First, a number of conventional medical practitioners were miffed over the idea that unorthodox healing systems were promoted as treating the whole person more effectively. Indeed, even the most narrowly focused subspecialist could truly keep the patients entire life in focus, attending to the mind and spirit as well as the body. Furthermore, there was no guarantee that an unorthodox practitioner might not see a patient as little more than a tangled wad of energy fields needing to be balanced through some esoteric formulation. (Take these supplements/herbs that I have chosen for you through the most inscrutable and subjective criteria, and call me in the morning.)
Second, many people including committed Christians who would go to the mat over the interpretation of a grammatical detail in a passage of Scripture appeared quite willing to lay critical thinking aside while dealing with unorthodox healing methods. Does it work? or, more specifically, Does it make me feel better? were often far more important questions than Does it make any sense? or Is there any empirical proof? or On what world view is this healing system based?
Third, the holistic health movement appeared to be having little impact on the practices of mainstream physicians. It had somewhat greater success among nurses, particularly with a specific healing technique known as therapeutic touch (see below).
Fourth, the new medicine also seemed to be making little headway within medical schools, government bodies, and insurance companies. Holistic health proponents repeatedly expressed a desire to leave the fringes and enter the cultural mainstream via research, public policy, and finance, but for many years this goal proved elusive.
Indeed, the persistent inability of holistic practices to gain widespread acceptance by the powers that be was undoubtedly a sore point for this movement for a number of years. Despite the grandiose optimism expressed during the San Diego conferences and others during the late 1970s and early 1980s, holistic health seemed to sputter through the 1980s, keeping itself alive primarily through paying clients who beat a path to the doors of unconventional practitioners. I concluded that there would always be holistic voices crying in the wilderness, but that our culture would probably keep them there.
My unspoken prediction, however, was proven wrong by some startling developments over the past few years. A dramatic turnabout has brought the gamut of holistic therapies including those with New Age and Eastern mystical flags fully unfurled squarely into the mainstream of American culture under a new banner: alternative medicine. Some proponents prefer the more conciliatory term complementary medicine, while a few describe themselves as promoters of integrative medicine, seeking to unite all forms of health care into a coherent system. Alternative medicine, however, is the most widely used term.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE TODAY
It is difficult to pinpoint when or how this reversal began. Promoters of alternative health care would likely argue that this movement hasnt actually enjoyed a revival, but that it has been alive and well all along, and that the power elites of the press, government, and medicine have only recently noticed. This idea is supported to some degree by a now-famous 1993 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, a publication not exactly known for tabloid excesses.
The report detailed the findings of a 1990 survey of health care utilization in the United States, suggesting that more than 30 percent of American adults availed themselves of at least one form of alternative therapy that year, paying an estimated 425 million visits to providers of such treatments about 40 million more than the number made to primary care physicians! The tab for this care was nearly $14 billion, of which more than $10 billion was not covered by insurance and thus was paid out of pocket. The survey indicated that unconventional therapies were used mostly for chronic rather than life-threatening conditions, that most people using these alternatives didnt discuss them with their physicians (no great surprise since conventional practitioners tended to dismiss such options with eye-rolling disdain), and that the elderly represented a significant proportion of the clientele.1
A RECENT SURGE IN PUBLIC INTEREST
It would not be surprising if a survey taken today showed even more widespread involvement in alternative practices. Recent indications of a surge in public interest include the following:
A Time cover story entitled Faith and Healing (24 June 1996) painted its subject with broad strokes, encompassing traditional faith in God, meditative techniques, and biochemistry. It described controlled studies designed to determine whether patients who were the recipients of prayer defined in a variety of ways fared better than others.
A bumper crop of books on alternative therapies now line the shelves of the Health and Medicine section of the typical neighborhood bookstore. No longer limited to the off-label and self-published material that was once the staple of New Age outlets, the newer titles come from mainstream publishers, and place unconventional treatments on equal footing with Western medicine. One prominent example is The Medical Advisor: The Complete Book of Alternative and Conventional Treatment,2 published last year by Time-Life Books. This handsome volume describes health problems in encyclopedic detail, noting for each the conventional medical approach and then listing several alternatives: ancient Chinese, homeopathic, herbal, and so on.
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) has repeatedly broadcast presentations of alternative healing. Bill Moyerss 1993 series, Healing and the Mind, attracted almost twice the normal PBS viewing audience. Andrew Weil, M.D., a popular author who now teaches Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, has offered articulate distillations from his book Spontaneous Healing on a program of the same name. Deepak Chopra, M.D., a publishing hot-ticket and Americas foremost purveyor of Indias ancient healing system known as ayurveda, captivated viewers in the PBS specials, Body, Mind and Soul: The Mystery and the Magic and The Way of the Wizard.
Websites devoted to alternative therapies abound on the Internet. If one tells the Yahoo search engine to look for alternative medicine, he or she will be escorted to more than 200 sites, many of which provide links to dozens of others. On the other hand, cautionary notices and critical analyses by organizations such as the National Council against Health Fraud and the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP, a humanist think tank that publishes Skeptical Inquirer) are few and far between.
Periodicals promoting alternative therapies are now available both for the general public (for example, Natural Health) and health care providers. The monthly journals Alternative and Complementary Therapies and Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine contain articles and studies of variable quality, which in some cases (unlike standard medical journals) freely wade into metaphysical and promotional material.
The most striking foray into the realm of conventional medicine occurred last November when American Family Physician, the official journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians (normally a reliable resource), published as its cover article, Alternative Medicine and the Family Physician.3 Authored by James M. Gordon, M.D., who directs the Mind-Body Center in Washington, D.C., the article offered a bland overview of alternative care, admonished family physicians to convey a sensitive acceptance and an openness to.their patients interest in alternative therapies, and encouraged practitioners to explore this realm themselves starting with Gordons own book, Manifesto for a New Medicine. An accompanying editorial strongly endorsed physician involvement in alternative therapies, and a duplicable information sheet did likewise for patients. Nowhere in these materials was there a note of caution or concern about any of the approaches mentioned.
NEW LINKS WITH CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE
Manifestations of increasing interest in alternative health care have not been limited to the general public and news media. In 1991, Congress mandated the formation of the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), now permanently established within the National Institute of Health (NIH). OAMs mission is to encourage and support the investigation of alternative medical (AM) practices, with the ultimate goal of integrating validated alternative medical practices into health and medical care (emphasis added).4 To this end, 10 exploratory centers have been established at institutions such as the University of Minnesota Medical School, Stanford University, and Columbia Universitys College of Physicians and Surgeons. NIH guidelines for these centers call for a systematic analysis of alternative treatments and their effect on major diseases, health, and wellness.5
It remains to be seen whether the centers, each of which will focus on a specific health care issue, will approach alternative therapies with open arms along with open minds. Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, for example, has already established the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the first of its kind at an American medical school. A quote in the Rosenthal Centers brochure from Woodson Merrell, M.D., sounds less than dispassionate: The fact that medical schools are beginning to incorporate alternative modes of healing into their curriculum is a major step in medical education. It is very exciting.
The enthusiasm for alternative medicine displayed by those involved with OAM certainly raises some doubt that its programs will provide evenhanded analysis of the therapies they study. Representative John E. Porter (R-Ill), Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services Education Subcommittee, which oversees funding for NIH, not only supports OAM but also sees it as fulfilling a specific mission: As I see it, the most important contribution the OAM can make to the practice of medicine is to provide that link between alternative and conventional medicine.Therefore, it is important to continue making contacts on Capitol Hill and to deliver the message: alternative medicine is integral to biomedical research, provides effective results, and is a priority for spending decisions.6 James Gordon, M. D., who wrote the above-noted Manifesto for a New Medicine, also serves as Chairman of the Program Advisory Council for OAM.
WHY THE INTEREST?
What might explain this surge of interest in alternative therapies? There are many possible reasons, but the heart of the matter is this: for all of its technological prowess, especially with acute and critical conditions, Western medicine continues to bump against the limits of its effectiveness when dealing with many disabling chronic conditions especially those related to aging, such as degenerative arthritis as well as complex diseases, such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. A massive tide of baby boomers is now facing mid-life and menopause, and, having challenged the status quo at every stage of life, this generation is not about to accept a just deal with it approach to the health problems of its golden years.
Moreover, stress and common lifestyle-induced problems, such as chronic fatigue and depression, do not always find sympathetic ears and definitive solutions in the doctors office. Many conventional practitioners drive large numbers of people to alternative therapists by spending as little time as possible with their patients and by clinging to outmoded authoritarian roles (I know whats best for you, so dont ask me those irritating questions.). Alternative practitioners may listen more attentively to their patients, and they frequently promote themselves as encouraging a more collaborative relationship.
Yet encouraging mutual respect, open communication, and informed decision-making are not the exclusive province of alternative therapies. In fact, many conscientious doctors within the conventional model have inadvertently contributed to the popularity of alternative therapies by candidly admitting the limits of their capabilities and carefully explaining the pros and cons of treatment options. Maintaining this evenhanded approach requires using words such as might, maybe, and I dont know. Furthermore, an increasing and appropriate emphasis on informed consent over the past few decades requires physicians to present both the risks and the benefits in connection with a given medication or surgery.
As a result, in many situations a physician may not be able to bring the power of positive expectation to bear on the patients problem. Alternative therapies, on the other hand, are typically brimming with optimism, often inversely proportional to their ties to reality. After hearing more than one doctor say, I dont know what is causing your problem or what we can do about it, someone with a complex illness may feel a breath of hope when the alternative practitioner announces, I can find out why you feel so poorly, and I have a specific plan that will get you on the road to recovery.
Other reasons for the rising interest in alternative therapies include:
1.) The appeal of natural approaches often touted as helping the body to heal itself over drugs and surgery. There is no question that ounces of prevention are better than pounds of cure, and positive lifestyle choices (regular exercise, prudent eating habits, and avoidance of harmful substances) are very likely to reduce medical problems in the future. But all too often the term natural is misapplied to bizarre, illogical treatments or the use of huge (and unnatural) amounts of vitamin and mineral supplements. Eating a variety of wholesome foods every day is natural; taking a tackle-box full of supplements is not.
2.) The current cultural enthronement of choice the need to have options, to have it my way has become a national credo. The word alternative implies that there is a choice to be made regarding health care, as opposed to simply following doctors orders.
3.) Skyrocketing costs, especially related to high-tech procedures and expensive medications, continue to plague the conventional health care system. Because alternative therapies tend to be relatively lowtech and often stress activities that the individual can do for himself or herself, some managed care/HMO systems are investigating their potential for lowering health care bills.
4.) A deep and widespread spiritual hunger. A number of therapies serve as a gateway to spiritual technologies and world views that address needs for meaning, knowledge, and power.
So what is the problem with alternative medicine? Before addressing that question, it is important to state what is not at issue.
1.) Turf battles. As a conventional, Western-trained practitioner, I can readily affirm that any concerns that I or others raise about alternative practices are not driven by possessiveness for patients or the income derived from them. Furthermore, it is important to counter an allegation that circulates with variable fervor in alternative circles: The A.M.A., the medical establishment, the pharmaceutical industry, or some other nefarious conglomerate is suppressing effective alternative treatments especially for cancer as part of an evil scheme to keep people sick so that billions of dollars can be made treating them. This paranoid delusion has as much basis in reality as a Stephen King novel, and begs the obvious question: What do these plotters do when any one of them or a loved one develops cancer? This rumor needs to be given a decent burial.
2.) Optimizing lifestyle. Many alternative devotees pay close attention to their daily living habits and make wise decisions (although sometimes for odd reasons). Primary care physicians are always delighted to have low maintenance patients who make wholesome dietary choices, exercise regularly, shun harmful substances, and deal effectively with lifes stresses. If this were the sum of alternative or holistic health, there would be little to be concerned about and much to applaud.
3.) Effective treatments based on rational thinking and solid research. One of the potential benefits of the Office of Alternative Medicine is the sponsorship of studies to separate alternative wheat from chaff. For example, the Rosenthal Center is conducting a double-blind, randomized study to determine whether a specific Chinese herbal preparation is effective in treating menopausal hot flashes. If such research validates this particular herbal remedy as a useful therapeutic tool and provides guidelines for its appropriate use, many women will be grateful beneficiaries.
4.) Recognizing the spiritual dimension to health. Human beings are indeed more than a collection of complex biochemical reactions, and their spiritual values can play an important role in both health and illness. Research psychiatrist David Larson, M.D., at the National Institute for Healthcare Research has collected a large number of studies that indicate that regular churchgoers are, among other things, more likely to have a reduced risk of coronary artery disease, lower blood pressure, less depression, and fewer anxiety-related illnesses. Furthermore, these benefits appear to be independent of lifestyle decisions (such as abstaining from smoking) that might arise from spiritual commitments. However, a number of alternative therapies and conceptions of health embrace metaphysical orientations overtly hostile to the teachings of the Old and New Testaments.
PROBLEMS WITH ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Presenting a detailed critique of even a sampling of alternative therapies is beyond the scope of this article. The following basic problem areas are presented, however, as a caution to those involved in this realm.
Excessive promoting. To say that the realm of alternative medicine is characterized by optimism is an understatement, and undoubtedly much of its success is due to its unabashedly positive outlook. Unfortunately, this buoyancy tends to pervade even its serious journals, such as Alternative and Complementary Therapies, raising doubts about the willingness of alternative practitioners to engage in any serious form of peer review. For all of its faults, Western medicine has progressed by honoring skepticism and doubt, and by demanding that the efficacy of its interventions be validated by controlled studies. Even the extensive advertising to physicians and patients by the pharmaceutical industry is governed by strict guidelines regarding claims that can be made about a given product.
There is no similar oversight for the myriad of herbal formulations, supplements, homeopathic remedies, and other concoctions heavily promoted in magazines, health food stores, and infomercials. (On weekends, some Christian radio stations literally transform into alternative therapy flea markets, without any apparent regard for the credibility of the material emanating on their airwaves.) Expansive claims abound for restoring energy, improving digestion, and solving a variety of poorly defined ailments (heart problems, kidney disease, etc.), all unspecified. Testimonials and anecdotes serve as proof positive, and any attempt by the Food and Drug Administration to bring some order to this Dodge City are met with howls of protest from merchants and buyers alike.
Everything you know is wrong. A number of alternative therapies also postulate alternative realities convoluted explanations of how things work in the human body (or the universe in general) that are totally at odds with the most basic facts of physiology. These are politely referred to in OAM literature as traditional and ethnomedicine therapies, and include such far-flung systems as ancient Chinese medicine and its offshoots (classical acupuncture and acupressure, among others), ayurvedic medicine from India, and homeopathy. Each operates as a self-contained system with its own internal logic, and while they seem to coexist happily under the big tent of alternative medicine, each is quite incompatible with the others. Questions about the validity of each systems basic assumptions are usually deflected with references to the accumulated wisdom of thousands of years of careful observation or the hundreds/ thousands/millions of treatment successes/satisfied customers or (best yet) the many scientific studies documenting the effectiveness of _____ . What proof is there, for example, for the ancient Chinese notion that invisible energy called chi circulates in equally invisible channels called meridians, and that disease results from disturbances in that flow?
The reference to many scientific studies is the most ironic because the methodology of modern scientific inquiry clearly came up with an understanding of health and disease that bears absolutely no resemblance to the precepts of these systems. For a quick reality check, imagine for a moment the reception that would greet an alternative system of mechanical engineering, aeronautics, or navigation based on ancient Eastern mysticism. Imagine, for that matter, an effort by your local emergency room to revive Hippocratess doctrine of the four humours as the basis for diagnosis and treatment.
Postmodern thinking. The fact that fanciful healing systems thrive in industrialized nations is partly due to the fact that postmodernism has penetrated Western cultures to a significant degree. This world view rejects both scientific rationalism and biblical notions of absolute truth, and substitutes for them intense subjectivism: Truth is defined by my experience/my feelings/my understanding. The scientific method and all that it entails rational hypotheses, logical deductions, controlled studies, and revising ones opinions based on this arduous process are seen as no more valid a way of understanding the world than any individuals mystical experiences or intuitive hunches. Any claim that one approach to obtaining knowledge might, in fact, be better than another, or that there is any absolute truth especially a transcendent God who is the truth is viewed as a power play, an attempt by one person to suppress and oppress someone else.
One alternative well suited to a postmodern culture is therapeutic touch, a practice that has continuously gained in popularity among nurses since its introduction in 1975 by New York University Professor Dolores Krieger, R.N., Ph.D. Now taught at more than 80 universities and hospitals, therapeutic touch purports to detect and adjust invisible energies supposedly flowing within and emanating from the human body. This involves entering a meditative state, moving the hands slowly about two inches above the patients skin in an effort to detect subtle sensations such as tingling or heat, using the hands to sweep away excess energy that might have been detected, creating mental images of desirable energy states, and then directing these images to the patient through the hands.
Aside from its misleading title (it should be therapeutic nontouch), the utter lack of objective validation for an invisible human energy field and the spectacular subjectivism of its technique (how in the world can anyone tell whether someone is doing it correctly?), therapeutic touch possesses a mystical heritage that should chill any practitioner who possesses even the faintest belief in the veracity of Scripture. Dr. Kriegers book The Therapeutic Touch makes it clear that she views Eastern mysticism and the Hindu concept of a universal energy called prana as the cornerstone for her therapy. She writes, The idea that prana might be transferred from one individual to another may not be so readily apparent to us unless we have gotten into the practice and literature of hatha yoga, tantric yoga, or the martial arts of the orient.7
Whenever therapeutic touch is called into question, a chorus of protest even from some Christian nurses who embrace this technique (often erroneously equating it with the laying on of hands in the New Testament) is a virtual certainty. But regardless of the benign intentions of its practitioners and its frequent proclamations of validation by some scientific studies, this technique represents a florid invasion of Eastern mysticism into the corridors of Western medicine.
The hijacking of prayer. Alternative medicine has embraced prayer as a healing modality, and in doing so, it has repeatedly fooled even mature Christians. This has occurred in two ways. One is exemplified by a 1988 study reported in the above-noted Time article, Faith and Healing. Nearly 400 patients in the coronary care unit at San Francisco General Hospital were randomly assigned to two groups. Patients in the experimental group were prayed for by born-again Christians, while those in the control group were not. Neither group of patients knew this was being done. Lo and behold, the prayed-for group had one-third the number of complications. Some Christians who become aware of such studies are thrilled: Finally science is validating what the Bible says about prayer.
But is God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, an appropriate subject for a controlled study? Is the potter going to be subject to a randomized protocol of the clay? Is prayer merely a form of spiritual technology? This type of experiment encompasses the worst of both worlds misdirected science and presumptuous theology and indirectly validates the misguided assumption (prevalent even among many Christians) that prayer is a cosmic call button, in response to which an omnipotent butler automatically fulfills human desires.
The other fake-out, involving some inventive verbal sleight of hand, is exemplified by the writings of Larry Dossey, M.D., author of the bestselling Healing Words and the more recent Prayer Is Good Medicine. Dossey is widely quoted even in reputable Christian publications because of his encouraging thoughts about the role of prayer in healing. But his notions of prayer extend well beyond the basic concept of communication between a human being and the omniscient, omnipotent, and loving Creator. He views prayer as a nonlocal extension of human consciousness: Prayer actually enlarges the reach of human consciousness. It is a way for us to transcend our physical limitations to be nonlocal, like gods.8 It doesnt matter much whether one prays to Jehovah or to the entire universe, or merely extends positive thoughts in another persons direction. To him its all prayer and its all good.
In the Bible, however, the importance of worshiping and honoring the one true God is of paramount concern. It does matter to whom we pray, and with what attitude. Furthermore, doing so requires that we have a clear understanding that God is God, and we arent which brings us full circle to the last and most serious problem with alternative medicine.
Health is godhood. As noted at the beginning of this article, the holistic health movement of 20 years ago embraced a concept that was in fact deeply embedded in many of its therapies: Matter and energy are different forms of the same reality. We are all congealed energy the same energy that fills the universe, which some call God. Therefore we are God. Alternative medicine in the 1990s has in no way distanced itself from this world view.
Perhaps the most successful proponent of this philosophy in the United States is Deepak Chopra, M. D., author of numerous best sellers including Ageless Body, Timeless Mind and The Way of the Wizard, ubiquitous endorser of other alternative medicine books, and favorite of PBS viewers and movie stars. Originally trained in Western-style endocrinology and once the prime promoter of Maharishi Mahesh Yogis foray into health care, Chopra is now in command of his own Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, California.
Chopra shouts the virtues of ayurveda from the media housetops. He promotes the notion that we are all local nodes in the infinite, universal energy field (call it God if you wish): All of us are connected to patterns of intelligence that govern the whole cosmos. Our bodies are part of a universal body, our minds an aspect of a universal mind.9 So when the physical body dies, we have nothing to fear. As he explains in a recent column in Natural Health, Once our physical body disintegrates, we go through a period of deep slumber as an astral body.after which we gradually awaken to experiences that we need to work out. Eventually we get in touch with our karmic software and then re-emerge on the physical plane with a higher level of awareness. With each cycle of life and death we move into a higher or more refined vibratory frequency of consciousness.10
THE SAME OLD LIE
This is, of course, the old reincarnation shuffle, presented to reassure readers of this alternative health magazine that all will be well during their next several appearances on earth, until ultimate health a final unity with the universal mind takes place. Obviously, in such a scenario there is no need for God to have become a man to become a ransom for many, and no need for repentance, but only a need for each of us to experience our godhood.
These are yet another presentation, in all of their primal seduction, of the two most basic lies ever told to human beings: You shall be as gods, and you will not die. Unfortunately, despite an abundance of optimism and good intentions, many who are involved in alternative medicine especially those who claim to detect and manipulate invisible energies are unwittingly distorting Gods true identity as creator and Lord, and our true identity as creatures who need first to be saved by Him and then to serve Him.Paul Reisser, M.D., is a family physician in private practice in Southern California. He is the coauthor of several books, including New Age Medicine (InterVarsity Press, 1988) and the upcoming Focus on the Family Complete Book of Baby and Child Care (Tyndale). He is a member of the Focus on the Family Physicians Resource Council and medical commentator for the radio broadcast Family News in Focus.
1D. M. Eisenberg, R. C. Kessler, C. Foster, F. E. Norlock, D. R. Calkins, and T. L. Delbanco, Unconventional Medicine in the United States: Prevalence, Costs and Patterns of Use, New England Journal of Medicine 328 (1993): 246-52.2The Medical Advisor: The Complete Book of Alternative and Conventional Treatment (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1996).3James M. Gordon, Alternative Medicine and the Family Physician, American Family Physician 54,7 (1996): 2205,124Exploratory Centers for Alternative Medicine Research, NIH Guide, vol. 23, no. 15 (RFA: OD-94-004), 15 April 1994.5Ibid.6John E. Porter, OAM Funding: A Shared Responsibility, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 1,3 (1995): 80.7 Dolores Krieger, The Therapeutic Touch: How to Use Your Hands to Help or Heal (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979), 13.8 Larry Dossey, Prayer Is Good Medicine (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996), 79.9Emperor of the Soul, Time, 24 June 1996, 68.10Deepak Chopra, Soul Searching, Natural Health, January/February 1997, 192.
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